Over 600 students accessed counselling services at the University of Stirling in the 2016-17 academic year, it has been revealed. There are around 11,000 students at the University of Stirling, meaning that around 5% of all students at the University sought help. This figure is around average when compared to Universities in the United Kingdom. The statistics used in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
The statistics released show that in total, 625 students from the University of Stirling accessed the institution’s counselling service during the 2016-17 academic year. The average waiting time for student’s at the University to access an appointment with the counselling service was between 4 and 6 weeks. This is quite a long wait, though is similar to that seen with other institutions.
To see thousands of 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.
A survey based around the effectiveness of the counselling service was circulated to users. 87% of respondents stated that the counselling service had helped them considerably. 80% said that the counselling service helped them to stay at University – which is particularly pleasing. However, 14% of users stated that they had to wait too long for an appointment. This is a constant complaint from counselling users, as Universities struggle to improve waiting times.
No data was released regarding the reasons behind seeking help. However, anxiety, low mood, depression, family issues, stress and bereavement are some of the most common reasons for seeing help. While it is disappointing to see so many students seeking help, hopefully the counselling provided them with the help they needed. In the bigger picture, 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.