75% of people will experience mental health problems by the age of 24.
Given that 83% of the undergraduate population are aged between 16 and 24 years old, the need for sufficient and accessible mental health facilities in place at universities is more important than ever.
According to Universities UK's Minding Our Future report, there has been a steady increase in the number of student suicides since 2001, and over the past 5 years 94% of universities have experienced a sharp increase in the number of students seeking help from support services.
So what are universities doing to address the problem? We've rounded up a selection of unis who're making steps towards improving the range of services available to students and ensuring they're fully accessible to everyone that needs them.
Greater Manchester universities
Behind London, Manchester holds the second biggest student population in the country. The Greater Manchester universities are considering this, and leading the way by establishing a dedicated centre aimed at supporting university students who have mental health concerns.
Opening this academic year (2019-20), the service offers accessible treatments and virtual clinics, as well as making it easier for students to get referred. Whenever students seek help, they'll be given a standard assessment before being directed either to university services, or for more specialist treatment at the new centre.
Thanks to a £14.5m Office for Students programme being launched to help reduce the number of student suicides, Northumbria University have been awarded funding towards their Early Alert tool. Using data sources like social media, the tool is designed to identify students who're at risk of a mental health crisis.
The university also offers a Counselling and Mental Health Support programme to their students, which includes appointments with counsellors and mental health practitioners, guided self-help appointments, therapeutic workshops and more.
University of Worcester
As well as providing students access to Counsellors and Mental Health Advisors, the University of Worcester offers a mental health triage service. Students can book an appointment at short notice if they feel as though they need immediate support. The uni also run a range of workshops throughout the year, from Managing Anxiety, to Procrastination Workshops, to Mindfulness sessions.
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham have also benefited from the funding provided by the Office for Students. They're launching a project in collaboration with student mental health charity, Student Minds, supporting the mental health of international students.
Nottingham have acknowledged the added challenges international students face at university, such as adjusting to a different culture, feeling pressure to achieve and finding it difficult to access suitable support. The project aims to work with international students to determine more culturally-aware responses to improving their mental health.
University of the West of England, Bristol
UWE are launching a scheme with the aim to advance the partnership between higher education and the NHS, both regionally and nationally. In 2018 the university also launched their Mental Wealth First strategy, with support from Student Minds, a scheme involving new approaches, technological innovations and services designed to consider the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff first.
Not sure where to look for welfare services at your university?
Though lots more can be done across many universities to support student mental health, no matter your university, there are services available. Here's some suggestions of where to look for support:
- Your university student services
Get up to speed with the counselling and mental health services available at your uni, so you know where to go if you need them - ask your personal tutor if you're not sure where to look.
- Your local GP
As a result of the amount of students at university and the lack of funding for mental health, waiting lists for uni services are often long. If that's the case, you could book an appointment with your GP who can refer you to a service that suits your concerns.
There's a range of mental health helplines out there if you want to talk to someone without it being face-to-face, or if you need to speak to someone at short notice. Student Minds, Nightline, Mind, Papyrus and The Samaritans are just a few.