The number of students accessing counselling services at Middlesex University have been rising year-on-year, recent statistics show. Half-way through the 2017-18 academic year, 470 students had sought counselling – with estimates suggesting the total would’ve exceeded 900 students for the entire year. With approximately 19,000 students at the University, this equates to around 4% of all students at the institution seeking help. The statistics discussed in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
When responding to a Freedom of Information request half-way through the 2017-18 academic year, the University stated that 470 students had sought counselling. This means the University were on course for a record high. Since 2013-14, the number of students accessing counselling services has raised significantly. In 2013-14, 354 students received help. This had risen to 580 by the 2015-16 academic year, before 617 cases being reported in the 2016-17 academic year.
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 £123,406. Meanwhile, by 2016-17, the budget was £356,096. The provisional budget for the 2017-18 academic year was £443,331. The growing budget highlights the problems facing students. Moreover, unsurprisingly more staff with a mental health remit have been employed by the University, when comparing figures over a five-year period.
The figures suggest around 4% 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.