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. In the most damning case, some students are having to wait more than four months for mental health support at some Universities. While some Universities have increased their provisions for mental health, in general, not enough appears to be being done. These statistics have led to a criticism of a ‘postcode lottery’ of waiting times for crucial treatment.
The results of the FOI requests have been publicised in an Independent article. At 21 UK Universities, there was a wait of more than four weeks for treatment. Among the worst cases were at the University of Glasgow, and Sheffield Hallam University – where students had to wait for over 140 days for treatment. At 21 Universities, there were waits of more than four weeks for treatment. However, 88% of referrals had a three week waiting time – proving that in some cases provisions are strong. Over 55 Universities have increased their funding for mental health, though 12 have cut funds attributed to mental health.
Without doubt, there is a mental health crisis among students in the contemporary age. The fact that so many students are seeking help is worrying. 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.
So why are students encountering a mental health crisis? Today’s students are having to spend money on record-high tuition fees that are clearly not fit for purpose. Students leaving University are now burdened with colossal debt. Living costs continue to rise, as do general costs at University – like the library fines disgrace that UniEel uncovered. There is uncertainty in the job market too, meaning students are anxious regarding long-term factors. Finally, courses are offering less value for money than ever seen before.
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These are just the latest statistics which show the difficulties facing young people. While many Universities have increased their funding for mental health, it is very, very worrying to see that other Universities are cutting costs. This is not something that will go away, and without proper treatment, will only escalate. The statistics uncovered in this article show the crisis among young people. Something certainly needs to be done about this problem soon.