It’s no secret that university can be a tough time for students, with the pressures of exams, coursework and socialising often taking their toll. But in the wake of the pandemic, universities are facing an even greater challenge in supporting the mental health of their students.
With many students now learning remotely or struggling to adjust to life on campus, the need for mental health support is more important than ever. And while universities have been quick to respond, providing a range of services and resources, there is still more to be done.
Here we look at some ways universities support students’ mental health and what more could be done to help those in need.
Mental health support on campus
Most universities offer some form of counselling or mental health support on campus, and these services have been vital in supporting students during the pandemic.
At the University of Oxford, for example, students can access various services, including one-to-one counselling, group therapy and drop-in sessions with a mental health advisor. These services are available to all students, regardless of their mental health diagnosis.
Similarly, the University of Cambridge offers a range of counselling and psychological services, including individual counselling, group therapy and workshops on topics such as managing anxiety and stress. Again, these services are open to all students.
But it’s not just face-to-face support that’s on offer – many universities also provide online resources and licenses, which can be accessed anywhere in the world.
The University of Manchester, for example, has an online ‘Mental Health Toolkit’ which includes self-help guides, links to useful websites and contact details for local services. There is also a dedicated email address ([email]) where students can access advice and support from mental health professionals.
What more could be done?
While universities are offering a range of mental health support services, there is still more that could be done to help students in need.
One area that has been identified as needing improvement is the provision of 24/7 support. While many universities offer support during office hours, there is often no provision for out-of-hours support, which can be vital for students in crisis.
Another issue is the lack of awareness of mental health services on campus. A recent National Union of Students (NUS) survey found that only 34% of students said they knew where to go to get help for their mental health on campus. This suggests that more must be done to raise awareness of available support.
Finally, there is a need for more investment in mental health support services. While many universities are doing their best with limited resources, the NUS has called for greater investment to meet the growing demand for mental health support.
In its report ‘Investing in Student Mental Health, the NUS calls for an increase in funding for mental health support services and more investment in staff and training.
Universities are facing a challenging time in supporting the mental health of their students. But with the right support, students can get through this tough period and become stronger on the other side.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, help is available. You can find details of mental health support services at your university online or by contacting your student services department.
What else should be done to support mental health on university campuses? Let us know in the comments below.
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