Recent statistics show that over 2,000 students at the University of Glasgow accessed counselling and psychological services in the 2016-17 academic year, following years of gradual rises. With around 27,000 students at the University, this equates to around 8% of all students at the University seeking help. These statistics will be expanded upon in this article. The statistics used in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
The statistics released show service uptake since the 2013-13 academic year. 1,333 students sought help. By 2014-15, this number had risen to 1,866. In total, 2,330 students accessed counselling and psychological services during the 2016-17 academic year. The rise has been continuous in the last few years, and it is predicted to continue in a similar fashion. It should be noted that this rise in counselling use has been seen consistently across Universities in the United Kingdom.
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.
The University of Glasgow have been criticised in the past for their long waiting times for counselling appointments. The average wait in 2016-17 was 37.2 days. Priority or crisis students were seen on the day where possible, while in the most extreme case, 141 days was the waiting time – which is very poor. It is at least a positive that students most in need are seen immediately. The statistics also showed that those seeking help were predominantly undergraduate students – with the majority female.
Depression and Anxiety accounted for the vast majority of causes for seeking counselling. This is common throughout Universities. Self-harm, eating disorders and substance abuse were among the other causes of students seeking help. 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.