Graduate Mental Health Is Being Overlooked: Here’s How Young Professionals Can Tackle Work Stress

  |     |   Health & Wellbeing

Starting your first job after uni is the beginning of a whole new phase of life. Yet, while student mental health topics are widely discussed, studies on graduate mental health are few and far between. 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.

  The most recently published NHS report shows 6.3% of 20-25 year-olds got in touch with mental health services over 2020-2021. This is an improvement on teenage mental health referral numbers, but is nonetheless the highest percentage for any working age group.

  A government study has found the 25-35s experience the highest proportion of work-related stress, depression and anxiety, with women twice as likely to experience this compared to men:

  – 4% of women aged 25-35 experience work-related stress, depression or anxiety
– 2% of  men aged 25-35 experience work-related stress, depression or anxiety


What are the most stressful jobs in the UK?

  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 have been found to be most stressful.

  In particular, teaching has been under the microscope recently, with schools struggling to fill vacant posts. A recent National Education Union survey shows:

  – 52% of teachers say their workload is ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unmanageable most of the time’, up 35% since 2021.
– State school teachers feel stressed at least 60% of the time.

And it’s no secret that the healthcare industry has been under pressure during the pandemic, with over 100,000 vacant posts and 25% of staff suffering from anxiety, depression or stress.

Online search trends show the UK industries associated with the most stressful jobs:


Industry Number of Stress-Related Searches Per Month
Healthcare 570
Banking and Finance 240
Teaching 210
Sales 160
Customer Services  110
Social Work 70
Business Analyst 70

Based on search trend data from SEMRush.


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-gradation depression: 920 searches per month
    2.    Unemployment depression: 220 searches per month
    3.    First job anxiety: 50 searches per month
    4.    Post-graduation anxiety: 40 searches per month
    5.    First job depression: 20 searches per month
    6.    Post-graduation stress: 20 searches per month
Data sourced from SEMRush.


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.

  Studies show that working from home has a positive impact on mental health and productivity. 80% of workers now give preference to employers offering remote work. Young professionals are particularly keen to make this a permanent feature, with 61% of 16-24-year-olds and 51% of 25-34 year-olds expressing this preference.

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

1.    Saving time (i.e. no commute) – 58%
2.    Saving money (i.e. on food or transport) – 54%
3.    More flexibility – 50%
4.    More time with loved ones – 42%
5.    More rest – 35%

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.

  What health trends are popular for looking after mental and physical wellbeing in 2022?




Wellness trend YOY% Change
wellness planner 2022 Breakout
wellness breaks Scotland 650%
wellness retreat near me 350%
wellness centre 160%
wellness spa 90%
wellness holidays 80%
wellness clinic 70%

Based on Google Trends data for 23/04/2021 to 23/04/2022.


Stress Management


Stress management topic  YOY % Change
squishy egg ball anti-stress Breakout
Figits Breakout
stress ball maker 2750%
pineapple stress ball 1000%
hypnotherapy for stress 250%
nee doh fidget toy 200%
pop its 200%
fidget packs 190%
Orbeez stress ball 150%
squishy 40%

Based on Google Trends data for 23/04/2021 to 23/04/2022.


Anxiety Management 


Anxiety Management YOY % Change
anxiety rings UK 1100%
anxiety ring spinner 400%
positive affirmations for anxiety 80%
CBD gummies for anxiety 70%
anxiety piercing 60%
ashwagandha 60%

Based on Google Trends data for 23/04/2021 to 23/04/2022.


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.

  Additional Sources
Google Trends

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