Mental Health Negatively Affecting Nearly Half Of UK Students, Study Reveals
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A survey has revealed that almost half of UK students are reporting that mental health difficulties are negatively impacting their university experience.
Carried out by mental health charity, Humen, the study found that out of 7,200 students surveyed, 47% said their mental health was negatively affecting them.
The research also revealed only 4% of staff received ‘adequate training’ and that ‘immediate improvements need to be made to get students the mental health care they need.
The research, which spanned 80 universities, found 57% of students have used mental health services provided by their university.
Founder of Humen, River Hawkins, says he believes support should be given ‘just as much value’ as academic results. “While it's encouraging to see a number of universities performing well in Humen's university mental health league table, all universities need to make immediate improvements," he said.
Speaking to Radio 1’s Newsbeat, 19-year-old University of Edinburgh physics student, Daniel Banister, revealed that after starting in September 2020 he had suffered with anxiety.
"I was thinking that I had something wrong with me, I've had issues in the past where I've discovered I had something wrong with one of my eyes.
“[Covid] overloaded my brain completely in a weird way and [I started] thinking things were wrong with me.”
According to Humen's data, 73% of men tried to access university services when struggling with their mental health, however only 19% were diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Daniel contacted his university and says they sent helpful emails - but that it was often ‘a few days’ later than help from his parents and instead had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a treatment that aims to reduce symptoms of various mental health conditions.
21-year-old UWE student, Ellie McNicol, says her mental health had a negative impact on her university experience, as she struggled with loneliness during the pandemic, when the majority of lessons were online.
"Not being able meet the people on your course or other people around you. The social aspect was taken away for a year and a half.
“Lots of the teaching was online and freshers week was too. It was quite difficult meeting new people and we were stuck to our flat bubbles. That affected me more than anything."
She said that UWE has been very good with their care, providing her with a wellbeing call every month, but she added: “There's always more that can be done and reporting mental health issues would be easier if there was an actual person to talk to.
"It's difficult to see over text, and in person you can see the bigger picture. It can be so easy to type your feelings and then just hit backspace."
Daniel agrees that ’in person support is important and can make a big difference to people.
"More people hear about it, and realise that might be what I have as well. And then they go on and talk about it as well," he added.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, Student Minds empowers students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health and provides 24/7 access to support including wellbeing tips, resources and support via phone, text web chat or email.
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