Mental health is increasingly on the agenda for policy makers and health practitioners, but one group of society seems to be at an ever-increasing risk of developing mental health problems, students.
University Mental Health Day provides an opportunity to reflect on action being taken up and down the country, to tackle the issue. With some universities experiencing as many as 11 student suicides in 2 years, today’s day of awareness may be an apt time to consider if enough is being done to protect vulnerable university students.
This year’s University Mental Health Day campaign is focused on highlighting the power of using your voice. Whilst the stigma around mental health is beginning to be addressed, students still report finding it difficult to ask for help. While the number of students seeking support with mental health has increased by more than 27,000 in five years, the numbers of students who actually receive timely help from their universities is unknown, with many students recalling long waiting lists and significant delays.
Alerting parents or guardians can be difficult for those struggling with mental health, but a new scheme launched by the University of Bristol aims to tackle this, by introducing an opt-in scheme to students. Allowing them to authorise a member of staff to contact a chosen next of kin, in the event of a serious health issue. The scheme has had a positive initial response, with thousands of students signing up, suggesting both its popularity, and student’s desire to see a need met. But with academic staff taking on a bigger role in the wellbeing of students, ensuring they are fully training, and supported, is paramount.
With nearly 150 university students in the UK committing suicide in 2016, it’s clear that the support isn’t quite right, however, acknowledging that change is needed is just the first step, and campaigns like University Mental Health Day, can hopefully go some way to increasing awareness and improving support.
If you’d like to find out more, why not take our Certificate in Mental Health and Wellbeing in Children & Young Adults training course, which covers everything from symptoms and causes to treatments.