Home Lifestyle Student mental health issues see 30% increase due to financial pressures

Student mental health issues see 30% increase due to financial pressures

Student mental health issues see 30% increase due to financial pressures
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In the wake of these terrifying statistics, is enough being done for student welfare on campus?

In a report carried out by the NUS, it has been revealed that 8 out of 10 students suffered or are currently suffering with mental health issues during their time at university.

A staggering 54% of this number also revealed that they chose to not seek support, due to either their lack of understanding on the aid issued by their university, or simply because their university had very little structure in place for them anyway.

This week the Guardian revealed that the number of university dropouts due to mental health have trebled in the last year, with data revealing over 1000 students leaving their studies, up by a chilling 210%.

These daunting statistics have finally resulted in authorities calling on universities to readdress the welfare that they currently have in place, as clearly, something is going very badly wrong.

It appears that most universities are not addressing the well being of their students, as raised tuition fees, employment and exam stress or expectation and mounted pressure are leading to students acquiring issues from anxiety through to depression.

One major factor in all of this could quite clearly be money. The Guardian have blamed the dramatic increase in tuition fees to be a strong causing factor for the stress piled on students, as many suffer feelings of guilt for piling the debt upon themselves and their family.

Money also causes stress due to the rising cost of living, poorly furnished university housing and the stress of deposits and part time jobs.

Over 43,000 students last year received counselling due to stress and anxious thoughts, predominantly at red brick universities.

These numbers reveal a rise of nearly 30%, meaning that the increase in fees has had a direct effect on the individual lives of university students.

The general consensus centres around student’s remarking on feelings of shame, paranoia and guilt for their time at university, due to the crippling debt they will face upon graduation.

The NUS have made a statement exploring this issue, clearly stating that the ‘marketisation of education’ is directly affecting student’s mental health.

These results, frankly, are deeply concerning.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of a well-established British university has labelled universities as ‘negligent’ in their treatment of students, from choosing to charge the most for their courses through to failing to address and deal with the cripplingly high levels of students in distress.

British universities are now facing the demand for general counselling increasing by 50%!

 ‘the marketisation of education is directly affecting student’s mental health’

The BBC have labelled the problems faced by students as an ‘anxiety culture’, as student’s face the stresses of wanting to live up to expectations, do their family proud, get a good job and a stable income and to generally make themselves feel that university was completely worth their time and money.

There is also the issue of social expectations, as the general feeling that students lie about doing very little all day causes students to grow anxious, as many are in fact living off a small loan, holding down a part time rather stressful job, trying to get their work in on time and also trying to balance a social life alongside all of this.

Various other factors, such as illness, with students dropping into a more stressful state when ill and concerned about contacting a doctor for the first time on their own, seem to cause more issues.

Universities, in wake of these rising levels, are being seen to offer more services to their students, yet concerns are still being voiced over the options on campus.

Although there are options available, are these options of a high level? Are they private, professional and completely un-biased? Or is the main base of them a simple sit down with student services to have a chat.

Government cuts have also affected the most vulnerable on university campus, with student support services such as grants and disability allowance facing a major decrease.

Most students asking for help are suffering from anxiety, in a report filed by 90 universities across the country.

The highest levels of students seeking support come in from Cardiff, whose numbers have increased by 96% in the last four years, whilst Staffordshire university have been seen to completely dismantle and rebuild its student support services into a much wider and secure organisation.

However, students are still waiting an average of around 20 days for help and support due to the high levels of people seeking guidance, in many cases, this can be too long.

These figures have led to Student Minds increasing their scope across mental health, leading them to create ‘Meeting Minds’, where students from across the country can discuss their concerns together.

Finally, could social media be playing a much larger role than we initially believed? Is the expectation of university being the best years of your life just too high?

The BBC has argued that social media build a pretence that one needs to always be having a good time with their friends at university, in many cases turning people’s social lives into a competition rather than a relaxing experience.

It appears that despite the staggering number of students seeking advice, many are still suffering in silence, as the levels of people dropping out increase and the levels of student suicide also increase.

With the majority of British universities now looking into to completely reshaping their student welfare system, hopefully advancements will be made in order to get students the help they need and the help they deserve.

From considerable debt, loneliness, illness, anxiety and social pressures, students are seen to be coping with so much more than they should have to at such a young age.

Hopefully, advancements will be made to ensure all students enjoy their time in their studies, yet with university fees set to increase by another £250 this year, do the government actually care at all?

Visit Student Minds 

Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a third year history student studying at The University of Manchester.

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