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Universities urged to tackle growing mental health issues among students
Depression and loneliness affect one-in-three university students and the number of suicides among students has risen.
By a Limelight contributor
This is the shocking finding of a new report, which also revealed that many students are less happy than the general population, including other young people.
The report, entitled, The invisible problem? Improving students’ mental health, was commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and written by Poppy Brown, a third-year Psychology student at the University of Oxford.
The report’s key recommendations include:
increasing funding for university counselling and support services threefold at universities providing the least support;
encouraging universities to review their mental health policies and create a mental health action plan;
providing information on mental health support in university prospectuses;
signposting information on mental health, such as the Expert Self Care (ESC) Student app
A Unite survey, published earlier this year, found that among students who had strongly considered dropping out of university:
76 per cent felt stressed or worried;
46 per cent felt down or depressed;
43 per cent felt isolated or lonely
She said : “The scale of the problem is bigger than ever, yet support is hard to access. The NHS does not recognise how vulnerable students are and universities often underfund their counselling services. We need to tackle these problems.”
Nick Hillman, director of HEPI, said: “Going to university can be stressful and so it is
vital [students] know support is available and that asking for help is normal.
"University support services, academic tutors , student unions, other students and the NHS can all help, but more must be done to meet demand. Universities should provide mental health training for staff and boost spending on counselling. Currently, a single star academic can cost more than a university's entire counselling service. "
Conditions which students are likely to develop include depression, bipolar and eating disorders.