Universities must do more to help students in crisis

Students are waiting up to 12 weeks to access help from their university, new data obtained by Sir Norman Lamb has revealed.

There are fears that the mental health of students who are waiting for help could deteriorate further during this period, and that students could even take their own lives. 

Lamb also found that although demand has increased for counselling and mental health assistance, 1 in 4 universities have cut or frozen their budgets for student mental health. 

These findings come as many young people across the UK begin their undergraduate courses, many of whom are living away from home for the first time.

University can be a struggle for any new student — having to make new friends, separation from family, having to manage money and a large workload — but these struggles are exacerbated if the individual is also struggling with a mental health condition.

Higher education facilities have come under scrutiny over the past couple of years for the lack of care offered to students, with 95 students in higher education taking their own lives between July 2016 and July 2017. This was pronounced at Bristol University, where 13 students died by suicide or suspected suicide in the last three years. 

For the upcoming academic year, Chasing the Stigma has provided posters and materials to two local universities — the University of Liverpool and John Moore’s University — so that students have details of how to access our Hub of Hope database to find services near them and our Crisis Text Line, in which students can get in contact with someone via text if they are in crisis and need to talk to someone immediately.

We hope that this addition to the campuses will be of help to anyone who needs it.