The University Mental Health Crisis

While the whole university experience can be an exciting new chapter in life and provide young people with a sense of freedom and independence, it’s important that we do not forget or ignore the ever growing mental health crisis in our universities. With yesterday marking #UniMentalHealthDay, I thought I would dedicate today’s post to talk all about it!

With around 75% of mental health problems now being established by the age of just 24, it’s clear that the younger generation in this country are at huge risk of suffering with such difficulties.

By starting university, students are faced with the mammoth task of managing numerous pressures and expectations. Not only do students have the worry of continuous work deadlines and making new friends but also the developmental challenges that naturally arise when transitioning into adulthood.

Although students of generations gone by would have had pressures, it’s clear that the current crop of students face unique and more complex concerns than those that preceded them. Increased tuition fees and student loans can often leave a huge financial burden upon students, plus the rising use of technology and social media can have potentially devastating consequences on mental wellbeing.

Society places such insurmountable pressure on students to achieve certain grades in order to enter a chosen career, that it has become detrimental to wellbeing. If students feel under this amount of pressure to work non-stop and take little time to rest or relax, is it any wonder that mental health problems are on the sharp incline? Even now it seems higher priority is placed on grades, not wellbeing, something that desperately needs to change!

When students at university are struggling with their mental health, it can also contribute to poorer academic outcomes and increase the likelihood of drop-outs, simply because managing stress and pressure becomes so much harder.

Despite clear evidence showing a sizeable increase in disclosure of mental health problems and demand for support services in universities, rates of suicide continue to increase. Between 2007 and 2015, the suicide rate amongst students had risen 79%, from 75 to 134 people. A truly alarming statistic which shows just how much action needs to be taken to address the situation.

Should students manage to identify that a mental health problem is arising, there is often shame, embarrassment and a reluctance to seek help. The stigma around mental health, particularly men, is high and the support available is also often limited. For the problem to be addressed in our universities, it’s vital that better support systems are provided, that students are encouraged to seek help whenever they need it and that students are simply made aware of how to maintain their own wellbeing better!

What many people forget is that we all have mental health, either good or bad. Through using our voices and stories, together we can inspire conversations, encourage action and create a greater change in tackling student mental health across the board. Too many lives are being lost on a daily basis, however we can do something about it. Sooner rather than later!

If you have any feedback or would you like to share some of your own experiences, feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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