Mental health has been growing area of concern for students, universities and wider society for a number of years. UWTSD has always been proud of the services and support they offer and making sure as many students as possible can access them. However, there is always more that can be done, and we are launching our third Academic Quality Report to look at this area and make recommendations on what can be done to improve the academic experience for students.
A significant amount of research has been released in the last year or two on mental health in students and young people. A 2016 YouGov poll showed 27% of students reporting a mental health problem. Of these, the most commonly reported issues were depression (77%) and anxiety (74%). More concerning, another report showed that half of those students who had a MH problem had informed the University of this. Other research has shown that 63% reported stress and anxiety levels serious enough that at different times it affected their day-to-day lives, and 77% reported a fears of failure – 1 in 5 of these saying that it was very prevalent in their day to day lives. More than 70% reported the main cause, unsurprisingly, as academic work.
We know there are problems. We know students aren’t talking to staff about their issues, but crucially we don’t know why. Is it a case that students don’t know what services exist? Is it a fear of it ending up on permanent records? We want to find out.
We also know that stress and anxiety levels are rising, and that unchecked, can develop into more serious mental health problems – we know a lot of this is linked to academic work. But, are students aware of the study support, the counselling services, and other options that are open to them? What more is needed to help students?
We believe that all of us at UWTSD, students and staff alike, have the right to study and work in ways that are not detrimental to them – we believe that part of coming to University is learning how to be resilient and independent, but at the same time, society and the wider world is changing. We want to help the University develop their already good work in this area.
The more voices taking part, the stronger we speak. Please share the survey with as many students as you know, and if you have any questions, please email Jeremy.firstname.lastname@example.org