A Third Of 7K Students Don’t Know How To Seek Help
Due to the pandemic, many students have experienced mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm and are in need of mental help. UK universities are now seeing a “significant rise” in the number of young people struggling at university. This is expected to continue with the cohort arriving in September, whose school experience was heavily disrupted.
As a result, experts warn of a mental health crisis among the “Covid generation” students. They are urging universities to do more to support their students’ mental health and wellbeing.
Universities have reported that more students are experiencing mental health problems after the pandemic. This is expected to continue with the cohort arriving in September, whose school experience was heavily disrupted, such as anxiety, depression and self-harm.
According to a recent Humen mental health charity survey, more than two in five (41%) students did not think their institution prevented problems from arising. Nearly half (47%) of students said mental health difficulties hurt their university experience, while a third said they didn’t know where to go to seek mental support and help.
Mental health charities are calling for universities to do more to support their students’ mental health and wellbeing. They are urging universities to provide more information about where to find help and make sure that support services are well-funded and easily accessible. Universities should also be doing more to prevent problems from arising in the first place by providing better information about things like money management and healthy lifestyles.
As loans and debts become more common, recent data from the Student Loans Company suggested that these difficult experiences may be translating into higher university dropout rates, with 3,706 more students quitting their courses.
Humen also ranked universities on the mental health support they offered students by drawing on the survey results and freedom of information data, including how much institutions spend and student satisfaction. On that basis, the University of Reading was ranked highest, partly due to spending the most per student at an average of £70. Oxford and Central Lancashire came in second and third places.
Universities UK, representing vice-chancellors, said institutions were “fully committed” to supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing. A spokesperson said: “The sector has been working hard to ensure that students have the information and support they need, including on financial matters.”
But mental health charities say more needs to be done to support students’ mental health and wellbeing, particularly in light of the pandemic. They are urging universities to provide more information about where to find help and make sure that support services are well-funded and easily accessible. Universities should also be doing more to prevent problems from arising in the first place by providing better information about things like money management and healthy lifestyles.
If you are a student struggling with your mental health, many support sources are available. You can speak to your GP, university counselling service, or a mental health charity like Mind or the Samaritans.
A leading medical expert on student mental health, Dr Dominique Thompson, said the younger generation had been “terribly impacted” by the pandemic and lockdown and needed help to “rebuild their social skills, reassure them about their academic abilities, and support them to be emotionally well”. She added that professionals had seen “a significant rise” in students presenting with eating disorders, anxiety, loneliness and self-harm.
The government has also recently announced measures to support young people’s mental health, including extra funding for universities and colleges to provide counselling and wellbeing services.
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