Sarah Marsh “Suicide is at record level among students at UK universities, study finds” https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/sep/02/suicide-record-level-students-uk-universities-study
The scale of the mental health crisis at UK universities is revealed in a study by the IPPR thinktank. It shows that the number of students who disclosed a mental health problem in their first year rose fivefold to reach 15,395 in a decade.
Analysts also found that a record 134 students killed themselves in 2015. In the same year a record number of students with mental health problems dropped out of university.
Experts put the rise down to growing pressure on students who leave university with huge debt, as well as increased awareness – meaning more people are reporting problems.
Mark Salter, a spokesman for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it was “deeply alarming” that student suicide numbers had nearly doubled in the past decade.
“We know that the government needs to do much more to stop people reaching the level of desperation where they take their own lives. Suicide is preventable … without proper resourcing and funding, we will not reduce suicide in England,” he said.
Craig Thorley, an IPPR senior research fellow, said young people’s studies risked being disrupted.
“Universities must be ready to support these students, including, where appropriate, through referral into specialist care. But the extent of support is currently too varied, and many university services are overwhelmed by the level of demand,” he said.
The report called for universities to ensure that their counselling services had close links with local GPs and mental health services.
New analysis found female first-year students were significantly more likely than their male counterparts to disclose a mental health condition in 2015-16, whereas four years previously both were equally likely.
Ruth Caleb, wellbeing consultant at Brunel University, said the rise could be down to the fact that more students now came to university already anxious and worried about the degree they would get, as well as the debt they would be saddled with as their working lives began.
“The rise is due to a combination of more awareness of mental health issues, a lowering of the taboo previously attached to mental health services and a greater sense of anxiety about the future. Young men are still a concern to us as they tend not to present as much to counselling and wellbeing services,” she said.
*3:Cf. Alfred Schutz “The Stranger”