In universities, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety afflict one in four students, while student suicides have reached a record level in recent years and dropouts have trebled. The burden of mental health illnesses is only likely to increase as stigma recedes and more people come forward with their sufferings. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, five times as many students as 10 years ago have disclosed a mental health issue to their university. The levels of mental illness have risen from 8,415 in 2008 to 50,000 undergraduates disclosing they are suffering a mental health condition.
Any delay in helping these vulnerable students will result in exacerbation of symptoms and could lead to self-harming and even suicidal thoughts.
A Student Experience survey shows that almost 9 in 10 (87%) of first year students find it difficult to cope with social or academic aspects of university life.
It is clear that the best way to help these vulnerable students is by implementing a programme ‘in-house’.
Students must feel they are supported through the transitions and milestones of university life in a holistic way. There are many instances of best practice across the sector, but the requirement for collaboration cannot be understated.
I believe my STAY ON KEY programme would benefit not only vulnerable students, but teachers as well.