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Freshers declaring mental illness up 73% in 4 years

The number of students declaring mental health problems on arrival at university has surged.

Figures obtained by The Times showed a 73 per cent rise between 2014-15 and 2017-18 in students stating that they had a condition such as depression or anxiety before starting their courses.

Only those students who disclosed a mental health condition and no other disability were included in many universities’ data because of the way some institutions record the information.

The figures were based on freedom of information responses from 60 universities. In the 2014-15 academic year 7,375 students declared that they were arriving in poor mental health. This rose to 12,773 for the 2017-18 academic year. The data for this academic year was unavailable from most institutions.

At 23 of the 60 universities that responded, the figure more than doubled. Cases quadrupled at Cambridge university from 33 to 133. Figures trebled at Cranfield university, in Bedfordshire, and at Harper Adams, Shropshire. Of four universities reporting a fall Kingston university, London, had the largest, down from 44 cases to 12.

Greater awareness of mental health has put pressure on the higher education sector to provide better support for students. Some implement specific policies and “transition days” to ease vulnerable students into university living.

At Worcester university wellbeing advisers will contact freshers to arrange a meeting, usually for August or September, before they start their course. Oxford university offers a day for students to learn about support services and how to manage the transition. They are given the option to settle into accommodation early before their college becomes busy with fellow students.

In December The Times reported that universities had been spending millions more on mental health services. Many said that they could no longer cope with the higher demand.

John de Pury of Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said more children and young adults had poor mental health and that the organisation viewed this as a priority. It recommends a “whole-university” approach that included “ helping students with diagnosed mental disorders to continue to access the right treatment and support . . . so they can maximise their potential and hopefully move towards recovery or managed illness.”

 Mery Zanutto will give any students a 20% discount using the CODE: SCHOOL20 to support this great need to help people moving towards a faster recovery.

Extract from The Times

February 22 2019, 12:01am, The Times