Almost 2,700 students accessed counselling services at the University of Manchester in the 2017-18 academic year, it has been revealed. With around 40,000 students studying at Manchester, this means around 7% of all students have sought help. While this figure is lower than some other Universities, it is still a worrying amount. The statistics used in this article come courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.
The statistics released begin in the 2013-14 Academic year. In that year, 2,368 students sought counselling help. By 2017-18, the number had risen to 2,690. As seen in the figures, there has been a rise over a four year period. However, this is a small rise when compared to other Universities – some of which have seen a 150% (or higher) increase in service uptake. Every University profiled has seen a rise in service use.
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.
The University of Manchester are seemingly responding well to the rise in demand for mental health services. Staff numbers with a mental health remit have gradually been rising. Moreover, the budget for counselling services has risen from £677,195 from 2013-14, to 824,276 in 2017-18. This suggests the University is working hard to help tackle the mental health crisis engulfing students across the United Kingdom.
No information regarding the reason/condition behind accessing mental health services was released. However, based on data from other Universities, anxiety and depression are the most common causes of seeking help. Low mood, family issues, stress and bereavement are often other causes. 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.