Statistics regarding the mental health of students at King’s College London have been released – with the results showing that almost 3,000 students accessed counselling in the last academic year. While this is of grave concern, these results do give the impression that the stigma around mental health is disappearing – which is at least one positive. The budget for mental health services has also risen considerably in light of the marked increase in demand for counselling. Read on for further information and statistics.
The University released the information used in this article through a Freedom of Information request. In the 2016-17 academic year, 2,880 students sought counselling. With around 29,000 students at the University, this equates to around 10% of students at the University having sought counselling – a worrying amount. This amount just rose from the 2,876 figure seen in the 2015-16 academic year. The number has been rising steadily over the last few years, though a new reporting method has contributed to the limited statistics being available.
As mentioned earlier, the budget for mental health services at the University has risen significantly. In the 2012-13 academic year, it was set at £800,000. This has risen to £1,270,000 for the 2017-18 academic year – a marked increase. As for waiting times, improvement appears to be needed. In the 2016-17 academic year, the average waiting time was between six and eight weeks, up from four to six from 2015-16. When suffering from a mental health issue, an almost two month wait can be distressing and damaging.
The huge rise in demand seen here at King’s College London isn’t purely limited to the institution – with other Universities reporting similar statistics. These are difficult times to be a student – with uncertainty over the future, higher tuition fees than ever before and with the job market being at an unprecedented level of competitiveness. There is a pressure like never before on students to succeed – which can lead to these mental health problems developing or aggravating. These revelations give credence to the idea that a mental health crisis is developing.
These revelations can however be seen in a positive light – such as that it appears the stigma around mental health is disappearing – leading to more people to request help. The only concern is that many students suffer in silence. Not every student suffering from ill health uses counselling services – which should be remembered when considering these statistics. Those in need are encouraged to actively seek help, there is certainly help out there for those who need help.
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These are certainly tough times to be a student. However it is encouraging to see that more people are coming forward with their mental health concerns – and that the stigma finally appears to be going away. While Universities all around the United Kingdom need to improve their current provisions for mental health, it appears that some positive steps have been taken in recent months in the battle against mental health problems. Hopefully this trend will continue. Remember you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 – should you ever need.