Abigail MeadowOctober 13th
2019

Students missing classes because of mental health problems risk being penalised with academic sanctions at some leading British universities.

After launching an investigation into the standardised policies universities have in place to support student mental health and welfare, The Guardian found that the vast majority of policies require students to initiate the process, resulting in long waits and insufficient help.

In its report The Guardian states: "The findings echo mounting concern over mental health provision for students, highlighted by recent suicides of undergraduates at universities in England."

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This comes after the inquest into the suicide of Bristol University student, Natasha Abrahart, heard there was 'no support' for her despite the university being aware of her severe social anxiety.

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, says: “The fact that most universities don’t have clear policies in place, sadly, doesn’t surprise me. In some places, really serious conversations about disclosure have only started very recently.

“University is a particularly crucial time because, unlike physical health issues, mental health conditions tend to show themselves for the first time between the ages of 16 and 24.

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“Our tradition of living away from home to secure a degree compounds the challenges new students face because it means they are away from friends, family and existing support networks.”

The Guardian also reports the rate suicide deaths among under-25s increased by 23.7% in 2018, with universities recording a fivefold increase in the number of students disclosing mental illness since 2007.

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