The number of students accessing mental health services at the University of the West of England (UWE) has risen dramatically in recent years, recent statistics show. Over 2,000 students have sought help in each of the last three academic years. With around 27,000 students at the University, this means around 8% of all students have sought help. UWE is based in Bristol – which has come under fire for a range of student suicides. The statistics used in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
The statistics show that in the 2013-14 Academic year, that 1,373 students accessed counselling services. By the 2015-16 academic year, the number had swelled to 2,065. In 2016-17, the number was at 2,253. As of February 2018, the number of students seeking help in the 2017-18 academic year was 1,894. It is likely the total number would have exceeded the previous highest total. This is a substantial rise in just four years, though it should be mentioned that such a rise has been seen at many other Universities in the United Kingdom.
This continuous rise in students seeking help across the United Kingdom is concerning. 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.
UWE have been in the news for negative reasons in the last year – due in part to two cases of student suicides – which have been attributed to mental health. UWE have been heavily criticised as a result. Some further statistics don’t support UWE too well either. Staff numbers with a mental health remit at the University has largely stayed stagnant in the last few years, while the average waiting time for an appointment is 8 days – which is a considerable length of time for someone in need.
No data was released regarding what the specific condition student’s were seeking help with. However, anxiety, depression, low mood, family issues, stress and bereavement are all common causes for seeking help. It is sad to see so many students seeking help, it is hopeful that the stigma around mental health will continue to lessen – meaning students will receive the proper treatment that they so desperately need. 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. UniEel also has a dedicated mental health section – that you can access here.