Statistics concerning the mental health of students at Durham University have been released – with the results revealing that thousands of students have sought counselling in the last few academic years. In the 2016-17 academic year alone, 1,400 students accessed counselling. With approximately 18,000 students enrolled at the University, this equates to around 7% of all students seeking help. The statistics discussed in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
In total, 1,400 students at the University accessed counselling services during the 2016-17 academic year. This total has dropped slightly from the 2015-16 academic year – where 1,582 students sought help – a record for the University. The two years prior saw successive rises from 1,354 (2013-14) to 1,500 (2014-15). Other than the past academic year, numbers have been steadily rising.
While the specific causes for accessing counselling services weren’t disclosed, generally, Anxiety and depression are the main causes of seeking help. Self-harm, eating disorders and substance abuse are often just some of the other reasons for seeking counselling. 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.
The budget for counselling provisions at the University has risen significantly in recent years. In the 2012-13 academic year, the budget was £380,900. Meanwhile, by 2016-17, the budget was £488,600. The number of staff who have a mental health remit at the University has also been steadily rising, highlighting the growing desire for access to help for various issues.
The figures suggest around 7% of students at the University have accessed counselling. This is a slightly lower level when compared to some other Universities. These revelations can 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.
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This is certainly a tough time 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.