By Leah Richardson
Mental health problems at university are becoming an increasing epidemic as research from Metro (2018), suggests that more and more students are turning to suicide as a means to an end. It is widely known that although university is a place for fun and leisure, it is also a place for study. In recent years, the process of getting into university in the first place is a rigorous procedure where individuals are judged on their academic abilities. This kind of pressure can create a whole host of mental health issues, that causes students to think that if they don’t perform well and achieve firsts across the board then they are failures.
When interviewing students at UWE about the pressures of their degree courses on their mental health, many of them asked for their names to be kept anonymous.
A second year History student told us “I find deadline season at university particularly hard because UWE tends to cram as many deadlines as they can next to each other. This makes my anxiety go through the roof because I think how am I meant to write two 2,000 word essays with days apart from each other.”
Bristol in particular has significantly high suicide rates among both universities in the city, according to the Independent (2018) “Bristol university has had 7 suicides in 18 months”.
The Guardian’s annual student experience survey (Wakeford, 2017) highlighted that “almost 6 in 10 students have reported that the stress of studying has made it difficult for them to cope. Other troubles reported included isolation (44%) and balancing work and study (37%)”. This indicates that not enough is being done by universities to combat such a widespread issue. The mother of Raven Hunt, a 21-year-old third year sociology student at UWE who took her own life told Bristol Post (2018) “most of these kids do have families and loved ones who care for them. I want universities to accept they need to do more. The support is just not enough”.
“Sometimes it can be easy to spot someone with a mental health problem, the best thing that you can do is offer support and give them your time. It shows them that you care and that you really do love them” (Natalie Bishop, 2nd year Architecture student, UWE).
If you are concerned about one of your friends, maybe they have been a little bit quiet recently? Or one of your housemates never leaves their room anymore? Go and check up on them.
UWE offers counselling and mental health support – you can contact them through their well-being service on +44 (0)117 32 86268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.