Statistics emanating from a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have uncovered several worrying figures that show the mental health crisis at UK Universities. The University of Glasgow and Sheffield Hallam University have featured some of the worst cases. The statistics have led to a criticism of a ‘postcode lottery’ of waiting times for crucial treatment, with students from Glasgow and Sheffield Hallam appearing to be losing out in this so-called lottery.
At 21 UK Universities, there was a wait of more than four weeks for treatment. The worst cases were at Glasgow, and Sheffield aHallam – with waits of more than 140 days reported. This is a shocking and unacceptable amount. We should mention that there can be mitigating factors in this – such as cancelled appointments. But for anyone to have to wait 140 days is very, very worrying. Looking at the wider picture – over 55 Universities have increased their funding for mental health, though 12 have cut funds attributed to mental health.
There is certainly a mental health crisis among students currently. The respected think tank Institute for Public Policy Research found that 134 students killed themselves in 2015 – a record high. This is around an average of one student per University – an unbelievable statistic. The fact that students are being driven to suicide shows the ineptitude of Universities when it comes to offering mental health provisions. This mental health crisis has been caused by a range of factors. Though just some of the many challenges facing students include record-high tuition fees, rising living costs and an uncertain future among other areas causing distress.
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These are just the latest statistics which show the difficulties facing young people. The waiting times witnessed at these two Universities in particular are worrying. For students at Glasgow and Sheffield Hallam, it is very disappointing that there isn’t any imminent access to these crucial services. Hopefully improvements will be witnessed in the coming weeks, which should lead to this crisis being addressed.