Do universities need to be more supportive towards students?
Dorset mental health educator is calling for universities to do more to support student struggling with their mental health.
In the past eighteen months there has been eight suicides in Bristol from student either attending Bristol University of UWE Bristol.
BUzz spoke to Doctor Andy Mayers, a mental health educator and lecturer in Psychology at Bournemouth University; “There is a great deal of pressure peer pressure, parental pressure, societal pressure for people to go to university.”
I think it is important to come to university to enjoy it as much as it is to learn because you need to work hard and play hard.”
The latest death which happened in January, comes months after a study by IPPR thinktank revealed that over the last decade over 15, 000 undergraduates disclosed of their mental health problems.
Alongside this in the same survey, it was revealed that 134 students killed themselves in 2015 – the same year where there was a record number of students with mental health problems dropping out of university.
Doctor Andy Mayers works alongside Samaritans for Bournemouth and is a patron for Dorset Mind, the leading mental health charity in Dorset.
Support in universities is there but there is calls that more needs to be done to ensure that student’s mental health is cared for while being at university.
Respect Yourself, is a national charity aimed at young adults between the ages of 13-25. The charity helps young people make decisions for themselves and reach their full potential which then empowers them to be role models for others.
They believe that mental health should be spoken about it schools. “Dorset Mind have been running a fantastic campaign for mental health to be taught and most importantly – understood in schools. We need to support this measure to de-stigmatise mental health and encourage everyone to reach out.”
We promote every organisation out there who want to empower, assist and share for all young people to access. It’s all about information and accessibility.”
One of the biggest struggles is when students are transitioning from moving out of their family home and moving into university accommodation and this is where more support is needed according to Doctor Andy Mayers.
They leave the security of their home regardless of what an adolescent might feel about home and parents and all of that and the need to break away. All of a sudden they are now on their own.”
In recent years there has been a high number of television programmes and series that have highlighted mental health and suicide. When 13 reasons why was broadcast last year it received some complaints on the portrayal. Doctor Andy Mayers says it can be harmful to people. “They can glamorise and some are good and some are bad. When you get someone that puts out a story that just glamorises it then that is not helpful at all.”
A freedom of information request which was made by The Tab revealed that despite being the hardest universities to get into Oxford and Cambridge spent the most money on mental health services with £48.25 and £40.48 respectively per student on counselling services. Bristol university was placed eighth on the list with University of the West of England placed in eighteenth.