Mental health in universities

Mental health in universities has never been a more prevalent topic than it is today, with an upsurge in anxiety and stress encompassing university campuses across the UK. There has been an increase in the number of calls to mental health incidents within universities for students in crisis which often result in the students being directed to A&E. The start of term can be a particularly distressing time for students who are trying to adjust to being away from home, making them feel lonely and isolated which often contributes to student depression and anxiety.

Recent polls have reported that 43% of students are often or always worried and almost 9 in 10 said they struggled with feelings of anxiety. This can be a catalyst for conditions like chronic anxiety which many students don’t know how to deal with. The general opinion is that there isn’t enough support within universities.

Student drop out and suicide rates

Student anxiety, mental breakdowns and depression are causing students to drop out of university. 26,000 students in England who began studying for their first degree in 2015 did not make it beyond the first year, which is an increase in dropouts for the third year running. Suicide rates in universities have risen over the past 10 years, with 1,330 students’ deaths by suicide (in 2018). In 2017 there were a total of 95 deaths by suicide, which is the equivalent to one every four days.

Young people’s mental health

Studies have shown that the pressures of technology, social media and even a lack of sleep caused by electronic devices, have contributed to student mental health problems. The rise in student debt and a target-driven culture has also contributed to a steep increase in anxiety and depression amongst young people. More students are feeling like they are in less control of their lives than ever before.

The number of students seeking help at university reflects a wider crisis in young people’s mental health. Over the last decade there has been budget cuts to social work, youth services, the NHS and state schools which means many young people experiencing issues do not get any help before they reach university, where they are faced with a new set of challenges.

Universities investing more

Universities are increasing investment in counselling and support for students and are working closely with the NHS and other organisations to ensure that students get the care they need. Here at Pulse Nursing, we supply mental health and general nurses to universities across the UK. We believe this investment in well-being for students is the right step in looking after university mental health and are proud to support this growing service.

If you’re a university seeking nurses, then please contact Sarah Chadwick on 0207 959 1027 or

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