Written by Joanna Hughes

Mental health has long been a taboo subject. Given the tremendous stress college students are under, however, many are in need of mental health support. The good news is recent analysis by the BBC indicates that the number of university students in the UK seeking mental health help has risen by more than 50 percent over five years. Here’s a closer look at the findings.

More Demands, More Stress

According to data from 83 universities over a five-year period, while the total number of university students dropped between 2012 and 2017, the number of students seeking help spiked from 50,900 to 78,100.

National Union of Students (NUS) Vice President Evan Crossan Jory said, “There is a growth in demand [for mental health services] over the last decade, in part, because the reality of studying in the UK has changed so much. [...] Many are balancing work, study and caring responsibilities. With fees so high, and the job market so competitive, students feel they have to continually push themselves perhaps more so than before.”

The Role of Universities

With demand so high, universities are endeavoring to keep up. For starters, there has been a 40 percent increase in funding designated for mental health services. At the same time, universities are also prioritizing identifying vulnerable students sooner in order to get them the support they need.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah argues, "University is supposed to be an assault on the senses. It should be demanding and disorientating, and with that should come adequate pastoral care for students‎. [...] This does not mean mollycoddling or cushioning students from the experiences that are part and parcel of university life, it means making sure support services are available if they need them."

If you are a UK college student who is concerned about your mental health, help is available. In addition to on-campus services, resources include Samaritans, Papyrus and YoungMinds.


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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