Should Universities join forces with the NHS to combat students mental health issues?
The battles students are continuously having with mental health has been brought to light by a recent article, written by a PHD student from the university of Cambridge and published by the Guardian.
Frightening statistics state that depression and anxiety affects one in four students, student suicides have reached a record level and University dropouts have trebled. These are all factors into the issues many students face but don’t openly talk about. The stigma around mental health is decreasing but the wait for professional help seems to only be getting longer; it all seems to be a vicious cycle.
Many Universities do have professionals on campus but they aren’t as readily available as they perhaps need be. In the article it was revealed that “students must wait up to five weeks to receive on average just four one-on-one counselling sessions. That is not surprising: there are only 15 counselors on payroll, eight of whom are part-time.” 5 weeks is a very long time for someone who struggles daily and allows for symptoms to go further downhill and it only gets worse with the NHS waiting time averaging 18 weeks.
Students should feel that they always have someone to turn to, whether that be professionally, academically or on a more personal level. University life can be rather demanding and for some it can take its toll quite quickly, even more so when its not a usual experience.
Students are at a vulnerable age group with mental health issues usually become apparent during late adolescence. More than half of school leavers go onto to study at University, making it the prime time to experience loneliness, depression and anxiety.
The NHS and universities should collaborate, working together to combat the signs of mental health issues, even more so during students’ dark periods to share useful resources and prevent individuals from deteriorating, this would (hopefully) lead to those terrifying numbers decreasing rather than doing the opposite.