Students at Aberystwyth University have been accessing mental health services at the institution in record numbers, it has been revealed. The most recent statistics pertain to the 2016/17 academic year, where 699 students registered for the service. While it isn’t clear how many of these students actually sought help, it is still an alarming number, and accounts for around 7% of all students at the University. The statistics used in this article emanate from a Freedom of Information request. Read on for more.
The statistics show that in the 2014-15 academic year, that 414 students sought mental health support. By 2015-16, it had actually dropped to 328. Yet by the 2016-17 academic year, the total had risen all the way to 699. As mentioned in the introduction, it is unclear as to how many of the 699 actually engaged in the services offered. The rise seen at Aberystwyth University is consistent with that of countless other Universities in the United Kingdom, as mental health continues to cause many to struggle.
It has left many wondering what has caused this nationwide-rise. There are many, many pressures on University students currently. Unprecedented tuition fees, high living costs, uncertainty over the future and the ultra-competitive graduate market are just some of the issues facing students. The impact of social media on the world has also been blamed by many for causing students distress. Such is the problem of mental health at Universities, that many have questioned whether or not institution’s have the required provisions to help those in need.
In terms of Aberystwyth University, it appears they are responding to this changing climate. The amount of support service staff who are employed with a mental health remit at the University has risen from 3 to 4 in the last few years. Moreover, two mental health advisors were employed from the 2016-17 academic year in an effort to try and cope with the rise in demand. It appears that the University are responding to student’s needs, which is a positive sign.
While no data pertaining to the actual mental health condition(s) that students were accessing counselling for, anxiety and depression are the most common conditions. Substance abuse, eating disorders and self-harm are other common conditions. It is positive to see many students feeling able to access counselling – with the stigma around mental health seemingly lessening – thankfully. Universities across the United Kingdom need to continue their work in combatting mental illness.
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These are, without doubt, very difficult times to be a student. Yet it is encouraging to see that efforts are being made to help those in need. While in general, provisions for mental health need to be increased, it does appear that positive steps have been taken by many institutions in recent times. The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can contact them in the event of a crisis at 116 123.