The number of students at the University of Nottingham who have been seeking help from the institution’s Counselling service has risen dramatically in the last few years. Recent statistics show that 2,245 students accessed Counselling services during the 2016-17 academic year. With around 32,000 students at the University, this means approximately 7% of all students have sought help. The statistics used in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
The statistics released show that back in the 2010-11 academic year, 1,612 students accessed counselling services. By 2012-13, it had risen to 1,777. In the 2014-15 academic year, 2,006 students sought help. The number had jumped by the time the most recent statistics were released – with the 2016-17 academic year witnessing 2,245 students utilising counselling services. It should be noted that this rise in counselling use has been seen consistently across Universities in the United Kingdom.
This continuous rise in students seeking help across the United Kingdom is concerning. Yet there are so many pressures facing University-aged students currently. High living costs, tuition fees, uncertainty over the future and the competitiveness of the graduate job market are just some of the many issues facing students. It has been questioned by many as to how well-equipped Universities actually are in terms of their provisions for treating mental health.
Survey results from the University of Nottingham suggest mixed results. 74% of respondents to a survey based around satisfaction with the counselling service stated they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’. This isn’t a very impressive statistic – this suggests around 500 students weren’t happy with the service they received. Yet the University have been raising their counselling service budget over the last few years, with staff members with a mental health remit also rising.
The main reason for seeking help was for anxiety. Family issues, low mood, depression, stress and bereavement were just some of the other areas reported. It was predominantly undergraduate students seeking help, while two thirds of those using the counselling service were female. Despite the number of students needing help being high, it is at least positive that many students are willing to get help. Hopefully the stigma around mental health will continue to lessen. In any case, Universities around the United Kingdom have considerable work to do in order to address this crisis.
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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.