UK higher education staff's mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19

Rasha Kassem, Fotios Mitsakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of academic and professional Higher Education (HE) staff in the UK. Design/methodology/approach: A mixed-method survey questionnaire was sent to almost 300 UK HE staff to secure qualitative and quantitative data to enable data triangulation. Findings: The study found an adverse impact on academic and professional staff's mental health and wellbeing, further resulting in stress and anxiety. Several reasons for the increased stress and anxiety levels were identified, but social isolation and the increased workload were the most commonly reported. The most affected groups by the pandemic were females, younger staff, full-timers and those with disabilities or caring responsibilities. Practical implications: This study offers a range of strategies to support staff's mental health and wellbeing; as such, it is of great interest to policymakers to inform their decisions of similar crisis events in the future. It also addresses some of the COVID-19 areas of research interest for the UK parliament. Originality/value: The study's originality derives from exploring the pandemic's impact on UK HE staff's mental health and wellbeing by including professional staff's experiences alongside those of academics. It also expands the scant evidence concerning the pandemic's impact on HE staff in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmployee Relations
Early online date15 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited. This author's accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact


  • Higher education
  • Mental health
  • Well-being
  • Covid-19
  • Stress
  • Anxiety


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