Life After University: How to Take Care of Your Mental Health at Your First Graduate Job

  |     |   Health & Wellbeing

Leaving uni and starting your first job is a bittersweet moment for some. Not only is it the beginning of a whole new phase in life, but you’ll also find yourself coming across new everyday challenges and situations that you might not have experienced before.


While the topic of student mental health is constantly discussed, it seems that graduate and postgraduate mental health isn’t as commonly spoken about. Searching online reveals no studies on UK graduate mental health specifically, so we’re here to unveil key information around this important topic.


If you’re a recent graduate and are worried about starting your first role, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve provided a list of tips and resources at the end of this article to help you look after your wellbeing during post-uni life.

Young professionals experience more mental health issues than other professional age groups

Research shows that younger professionals experience more work-related stress than those further into their careers.

How to protect your mental health in your first job

Data released by the NHS report shows that 6.3% of 20-25 year-olds got in touch with mental health services over 2020-2021. Although this is an improvement in teenage mental health referral numbers, it remains the highest percentage for any working age group.

As graduate and postgraduate mental health are more spoken about, young adults become more emotionally aware of themselves and have admitted to prioritising their job over their physical and psychological well-being.

According to Deloitte’s 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 46% of young adults say they feel burned out due to the intensity and demands of their working environment.

The Great Resignation – Why are so many young adults leaving their jobs?

Some graduate jobs are more stressful than others. Roles with high public interaction are associated with more stress: most prominently, healthcare, education, policing, and customer service jobs are most stressful. Meanwhile, a few of the least stressful jobs include:


  • Admins and personal assistants
  • Skilled tradesperson
  • Cleaner and Labourer
  • Plant process and machine operatives


Data collected by YouGov shows that 47% of Gen Zs struggle to find a work-life balance as they constantly stress about work outside of working hours.


As a result of feeling under pressure, many young adults are considering quitting their jobs without having another job lined up due to dissatisfaction with things like pay and learning opportunities.


65% of Millennials and Gen Zs are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis


As the cost-of-living rises, many young adults feel that they’re not financially secure and are concerned about the increasing wealth inequality.


Young people between the ages of 18 to 25 (46%) have admitted to living paycheck to paycheck and fear they won’t always be able to cover expenses or have a pension.


Online search data reveals the biggest graduate concerns


Around 1,270 graduates search for mental health topics each month. Here are the top 6 issues concerning them the most:


1. Post-graduation depression: 320 searches per month
2. Unemployment depression: 110 searches per month
3. First job anxiety: 30 searches per month
4. Post-graduation anxiety: 30 searches per month
5. First job depression: 10 searches per month
6. Post-graduation stress: 20 searches per month


*Data sourced from SEMRush over a 12-month period


Working from home has a positive impact on mental health


The working landscape has transformed over the past couple of years. Today, many graduates will be starting their first roles entirely remotely, which has both new benefits and challenges.


By offering flexible work options, companies enable their employees to better their work-life balance. Research has shown that 77% of people agree that the option to WFH would help them be healthier and happier. In addition to work-life balance and commute stress, many people felt that they are now able prioritise their family and time.

The top 5 benefits to mental health and happiness cited by the most people:

  1. Improved work-life balance – 78%
  2. Fewer distractions – 53%
  3. More time to complete work – 52%
  4. Improved well-being – 47%
  5. Easier to think of new ideas – 16%


However, in recent studies by ONS, we can see that there has been a post-pandemic shift in attitude for young people working at home as 51% of 16- to 29-year-olds are choosing to travel to work rather than working from home or hybrid working.


How are we looking after our mental health in 2022?


With working culture changing so significantly, talking about mental health topics is more crucial than ever, particularly among the graduate age group who are experiencing the effects of work-related stress more than any other working demographic.



Yoga Trend

YOY% Change

puppy yoga near me


hot yoga glasgow


pilates near me


yoga class near me


Based on Google Trends data for 14/09/2021 to 14/09/2022.




Relaxation Trend

YOY % Change

relaxing classical music


relaxing holiday destinations


relaxing music YouTube


play relaxing sounds


relaxing massage near me


Based on Google Trends data for 14/09/2021 to 14/09/2022.

Anxiety Management


Anxiety Management Trend

YOY % Change

can hypnosis help with anxiety


social anxiety test


physical symptoms of anxiety


gifts to help with anxiety


what crystals help with anxiety


cognitive behavioural therapy


Based on Google Trends data for 14/09/2021 to 14/09/2022.


What to do when a job is too stressful: tips for looking after your mental health in your first grad role


While a fidget spinner or anxiety ring might help keep you calm in a stressful moment, there are also plenty of things you can do to manage work-related stress without these:


  1. Have plenty of short breaks while working, including spending some time outside.
    2. Take time off when you need it.
    3. Talk openly with colleagues and your manager if you’re struggling with the workload.
    4. Spend time with friends and family to relax and socialise outside of work.
    5. Create boundaries between work and leisure time. Ensure you finish on time and try not to work outside of your contracted hours. This is especially important if you’re working from home, where your living space is also your workspace.


What to do if you need support


Most importantly, if you’re finding your job too stressful and feel overwhelmed, it’s important to speak to those around you, such as family, friends and loved ones. And don’t be afraid to reach out to mental health support services like those listed below:


Mind – Information and support for a range of mental health issues

• Helpline: 0300 123 3393
• Email [email protected]
• Website:


Anxiety UK – Support for those diagnosed with anxiety

• Helpline: 03444 775 774
• Text service: 07537 416 905
• Website:


Mental Health Foundation – Support and info on mental health problems
• Website:


No Panic – Support for those affected by panic attacks and OCD
• General helpline: 0844 967 4848
• Website:


Samaritans – Support for those experiencing feelings of despair or depression
• Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
• Website:


Student Accommodation Advice


If you’re currently a student with accommodation through Fresh, please reach out to our Resident Teams, who have an open-door policy for students who need to talk.


Google Trends
Additional Sources


Comments are closed.