University students need more emotional support

We are continuing to read about the increase of mental health issues among young people in the news, particularly on the subjects of suicide and self harm.  The focus on mental and emotional health is forcing us to realise that more action needs to be taken and I think that it is urging the government to put more funding back into mental health services.

I recently read a piece on the Young Minds website about mental health issues among university students, which again put things into perspective.  University can be an extremely challenging time for young people – as the pressures and workloads increase, with many of them having to deal with living away from home for the first time – so they need to be assured that necessary support will be on hand for them if they are struggling.  I believe that extra emphasis needs to be put on the offerings of support that students can receive, so that they understand that they do not need to suffer alone.

However, this is can be difficult due to the funding cuts of university welfare services.  I cannot comprehend why services regarding emotional and mental health are constantly having their funding reduced, as if the government are sending out the message that they care very little for the mental and emotional state of the people.  Again, it makes me ask the question, why does our health always seem to take a backseat?

I struggled during university and I found both my emotional and mental heath suffering, but I decided to push it aside in favour of focusing on my studies. I felt depressed, emotionally drained and unhappy for the majority of my two years, but instead I chose to suffer in silence and when I attempted to speak up, I did not receive the support I actually needed.  Although I left university without a degree, I found a way to pick myself up and get the courage I needed to leave, otherwise I think that my final year may have killed me.

Unfortunately, there are numerous students who do commit suicide during their time at university – “the number of students who took their own lives in England and Wales rose by 50% between 2007 and 2011, from 75 to 112, despite the number of students as a whole rising by only 14%”, wrote Zoe Large for Young Minds.  It is upsetting to see that the number of students committing suicide is on the rise, and this number is unlikely to decrease unless more is done to support students.  They need to feel safe, comfortable and able to come forward to ask for help in their place of education.

Mental health campaigner Ed Pinkney, the founder of Mental Wealth UK said: “This isn’t just about the personal issues facing a minority of students. It’s an academic issue, too. Just as buildings require strong foundations, students cannot be expected to thrive if they lack adequate support.”

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