According to a new report from UniHealth, 1 in 5 (19%) students have suicidal thoughts.

The report goes on to claim that 82% of UK university students experience stress and anxiety, and 45% have feelings of depression.

Such feelings of anxiety and stress can already be felt during freshers’ week with a third of the students surveyed stating that they “didn’t feel supported by their institution ahead of freshers’ week.”

The top five biggest concerns being: making friends, passing their course, cooking, money and feeling pressure to take drugs.

“76% of UK students believe that more wellbeing support from their university would stop them from dropping out of studies”

Poppy Howe, a second-year Aerospace Engineering student, told Impact: “There is pressure for students to do well from parents, academic staff and society in general. The wellbeing of students is something that universities should focus more on.”

76% of UK students believe that more wellbeing support from their university would stop them from dropping out of studies.

Asking for help, however, is not common among university students as three quarters of UK university students admit they don’t ask for help because they’re embarrassed, they don’t know where to find it, or they think it’s a waste of time.

The report explains that students would thus benefit from a messaging programme that sends empowering and motivational messages directly to student’s phones.

“many students shy away from getting help, so it’s crucial universities consider how they can offer different support services that fit with their students’ lifestyles, and digital is one of the answers”

Dr Dominique Thompson, an in-house university GP, said: “As the research suggests, many students shy away from getting help, so it’s crucial universities consider how they can offer different support services that fit with their students’ lifestyles, and digital is one of the answers.”

Ellen Townsend, a Psychology professor at the University of Nottingham (UoN), has led research into the factors leading to self-harm in young people.

The research showed that some young people feel better after their first episode of self-harm. However, this feeling seems to change over time as “feeling[s] of self-hatred and not being afraid of death emerged.”

“[s]elf-harm is the strongest predictor of eventual suicide and each suicide significantly affects many other individuals”

Professor Townsend said that “[s]elf-harm is the strongest predictor of eventual suicide and each suicide significantly affects many other individuals.”

Impact have reached out to Laura Bealin-Kelly, The Equal Opportunities & Welfare SU Officer, to get a response on the steps being taken for the wellbeing of students at the UoN, but have yet to get a response.

However, recently the Sports SU Officer, Adam Pratchett, posted a Facebook post stating that “mental health training is now being delivered by trained members of staff to all UoN Sport Coaches as part of their coaching briefings.”

Sarah Lindgarde

Featured image courtesy of ‘Andrew Imanaka’ via Flickr. License here.
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