Students are now waiting up to four months for help, even with student suicide rates being at an all time harrowing high.
Campaigners have highlighted the troubling figures alongside the results which could come from students being denied the help that they need, as many are now burdened with financial stress, the fear of failure and the prospect of possible careers after university, ultimately, many students are feeling lost.
One of the longest recorded waits for mental health services was experienced by a Glasgow student, they waited 146 days or a short consultation, before being told which steps to take and who to contact, activities which then proceeded to take weeks more.
However, according to the university board, there are many reasons why treatment can be delayed, ranging from the student’s availability through to many students delaying their appointment.
University led mental health services are also prone to a lot of controversy, even looking through countless articles on the issue it is apparent in the comment section that multiple people believe students with mental health issues should not be at university, or that the university should not be expected to look after everyone.
Of course, these opinions are unfounded, judgemental and wrong. When a student gets into a university they are giving that institution everything; their time; their money and their commitment, surely it is the universities’ responsibility to care for that student likewise?
Further universities experiencing long waits are Sheffield Hallam, with waits of up to 148 days; Southampton Solent come in with 127 and Exeter, with a staggering four months waiting time.
The former health minister of the Liberal Democrats has commented this week that the figures are disappointing to hear. Expressing his anger to learn that many universities were lagging behind, despite countless increases in their funding for mental health services.
Yet, it seems apparent that not simply mental health funding should be applied, but a whole shake up of the university system, a less demanding financial routine, with university fees tripling in the last five years alone, and a more relaxed university environment. Surely, then, an improvement would be seen?
Former health minister, Norman Lamb, commented further on the issues being faced, ‘every university has a duty to provide decent support to its students. Any that fails to do so must be challenged. It can no longer be tolerated. Moving to university can be a particularly challenging and stressful time for many young people, with some struggling to adapt to moving away often from home, family and other support networks’.
58 per cent of universities increased their mental health funding last year, still, 12 per cent slashed their spending considerably, alongside this, 41 universities, it has been revealed by the Independent, have cut down on their counsellors, removing many from prominent positions.
Rachel Boyd, a spokesperson for ‘Mind’, the prominent mental health charity, has commented on the unacceptable nature of these cuts; ‘it is deeply concerning that in some universities, students are having to wait up to nine months to access mental health services’.
Of course, despite all these hard facts, universities are still sticking to the bottom line in insisting that they are doing all that they can for mental health issues all across the country; with a spokesperson for Universities UK stating that everything is being done to help people, and call to heel the staggering rates of suicide across the whole country.
So, what do you think of your university’s mental health facilities? Are you happy with the service you receive, or do you feel that more effort is needed in helping young people through the stress of university life?
If you are struggling, then check out these useful websites on the nest steps to take;
Mental Health Foundation: ♥
Night line: ♥
Anxiety UK: ♥