There are under-recognised problems of stress, depression and suicidal thoughts on university campuses, warns a survey from the National Union of Students on mental health problems. This is from the BBC…
More than one in 10 students said they had experienced “suicidal thoughts”, in a survey of 1,200 across the UK.
There were 14% who had considered self-harm and 38% had feelings of panic.
Paul Farmer, head of mental health charity Mind, called for a “culture of openness” in providing support.
The study found a wide range of negative feelings – with 80% feeling stressed, 55% feeling anxious, 50% having insomnia or sleeping problems and 40% feelings of “worthlessness” and “hopelessness”.
Worries about exams and grades were widespread, but there were also many students whose anxieties were ascribed to emotional problems with their friends and families or pressures over money.
There were also more particular concerns – 22% said they were homesick, 15% were upset by the “insensitivity” of a lecturer.
Bullying was also a problem – with one in 20 students saying their anxiety was caused by bullying by another student.
There was also one in 20 who had problems with alcohol or other drug abuse.
“These stats are confirming what I have been hearing on campuses for some time,” said NUS disabled students’ officer Hannah Paterson.
But she said she was particularly concerned that “over a quarter of those surveyed did not tell anyone about their problems”.
Students were more likely to tell their friends and family about feelings of anxiety, rather than a doctor or member of the academic or university counselling staff.
This is the first time that the union has carried out such a survey, so it is not possible to say whether this is a problem that is getting worse – but the NUS says students now face greater financial pressures from higher fees and worry about a tough employment market.