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20% of students consider themselves to have a mental health problem


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The National Union of Students (NUS) has found that of 1,200 Higher Education students surveyed, 20% consider themselves to have a mental health problem, while 13% have suicidal thoughts.

92% of respondents identified as having had feeling of mental distress, which often includes feeling down, stressed and demotivated.

On average, respondents who experience feelings of mental distress experience them once a month or more (74%), and almost one third suffered mental distress every week.

The main causes of this were found to be coursework for 65% of respondents, exams and study for over half (54%), with almost as many citing financial difficulty (47%).

NUS Disabled Students' Officer Hannah Paterson said: “These stats are confirming what I have been hearing on campuses for some time.

“My primary concern is the fact that over a quarter of those surveyed did not tell anyone about their problems with a mere one in ten using care provided by their institution.

“We are currently meeting with mental health organisations in a bid to bring all stakeholders together to examine the standard of mental health care in UK universities and hope to make an announcement in the coming weeks on the shape this will take.”

Of all students surveyed, those most likely to report having being diagnosed with mental health issues were White British females studying history, philosophy or the ‘written arts.’

67% of those surveyed had never been diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “This new research demonstrates the scale of mental health problems among students.

“We are particularly concerned that more than one in ten students surveyed had experienced suicidal thoughts during the time they’ve spent at their current place of study.

“Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems and stress among students, many people are not seeking help, perhaps because of the stigma that can surround mental health problems."

He continued: “Opening up to friends and family can help those feeling stressed or anxious, but anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or consistently feeling down may have an enduring mental health problem, so it’s best they visit their GP. Nobody should suffer alone.”

Visit Mind, the mental health charity, here

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