Have you experienced such distress and unease that it made you seriously question your mental health? About 8 out of 10 students, assessed in a National Union of Students (NUS) survey did.
The mid-1990s saw the beginning of an alarming trend as campus counseling centers noticed more students inquiring about problems that were increasingly psychological in nature. Congress took notice and implemented several prevention plans. Yet, key areas were overlooked, and the problem only grew bigger.
The NUS Survey
The poll surveyed 1,093 students, conducted by NUS on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students. The survey took place in November and December, studying both higher and further education students.
The survey highlighted other surprising details:
- 33 percent declared that they had had suicidal thoughts. Of those who did not identify as heterosexual, the proportion was 55 percent
- 54 percent of the students who reported having dealt with mental health problems did not seek out support
- One-third confessed to not knowing how to get mental health support at their college or university if they needed it
- 40 percent reported being nervous about the support they would receive from their institution
Paul Blomfield, a member of the British Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students, said:
“Our colleges and universities should be places of educational and personal development where students feel supported. But these findings show us that significant numbers of students are suffering with mental health problems, many of them silently. These survey results are a wake-up call to all of us concerned with student welfare.”
“University was pitched to me as ‘the best years of your life’ and there is definitely an anxiety among young people to live up to that expectation. For those of us who struggle with mental illness at university you can feel constant disappointment for not fitting the student stereotype,” expressed Aoife Inman, 19, a second-year student in the University of Manchester.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness survey
For comparison in the U.S., research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on college campuses depicted the following statistics:
- 1 in 4 students had a diagnosable mental illness
- 40 percent did not seek out help
- 80 percent felt weighed down by their responsibilities
Even though a growing range of mental health issues affects college students, the NAMI report highlighted depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders and addiction as the most prevalent among students.
What you can do
Research shows the profound impact strong mental and behavioral health supports can have on improving student life. It is vital to take your mental health seriously and seek help if you believe you or a friend is at risk. Research your mental health treatment options on campus, and participate in support groups, or consult your student health center to educate yourself on student wellness. Take control of your life on campus and initiate a healthy college career.
White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding scho s about thi uthor at firstname.lastname@example.org.