Many universities need to triple their spending on mental health support: urgent call for action in new HEPI paper

A new HEPI report, The invisible problem? Improving students’ mental health, shows a majority of students experience low wellbeing, that depression and loneliness affect one-in-three students and that the number of student suicides has risen. The report calls for extra support from universities and the NHS. Nick Hillman, Director of the HEPI, said: ‘Mental disorders are most common in young adults, just at the age when many people become students. Going to university can be stressful, especially for first-in-family students. Typically, you lose your established support networks, move to a new part of the country and take on large debts. Occasionally, it even ends in tragedy. ’So it is vital that people entering university for the first time know that support is available, that any problems can be shared and that asking for help is normal. University support services, academic tutors, student unions, other students and the NHS can all help. ‘But we must do more if we are to meet demand. Students should be able to register with one doctor at home and one doctor at university to ensure continuity of care. Universities should adopt mental health Action Plans, provide mental health training for staff and boost spending on counselling – currently, a single star academic can cost more than a university’s entire counselling service. Freshers can help themselves too, by talking to older students about university life, finding out what support services are on offer early and becoming involved in clubs and societies.’ The report’s author, Poppy Brown, is a third-year Psychology and Philosophy undergraduate student at the University of Oxford. She said: ‘A majority of students experience low wellbeing and over one-in-ten have a diagnosable mental illness. The scale of the problem is bigger than ever before. ‘Yet support is … Continue reading Many universities need to triple their spending on mental health support: urgent call for action in new HEPI paper