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Sharp rise in mental illness at university

‘Sharp rise’ in mental illness at university


Approximately five times as many students as ten years ago have disclosed a mental health condition to their university, researchers say.

In the academic year 2015-2016, in excess of 15,000 UK-based first year students disclosed mental health issues, an analysis from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests.

Comparatively, the 2006 figure was around 3,000. The rise poses an overwhelming risk on university services, the IPPR adds.

Universities UK said that a new framework, published on 4 September, will boost the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff, whilst helping to embed good mental health across university services.

Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England – whom also chairs UUK’s working group on mental health in higher education – said that its new framework was “a step change” in the mental wellbeing support student’s receive.

The IPPR study analyses figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which indicated a larger rise in disclosure of mental health conditions among female students.

Until 2009-2010, the rate of male and female students reporting mental health issues was recorded at an estimated 0.5%. By 2015, it had risen to 2.5% of female students and 1.4% of male students.

The report added that official statistics highlighted that student suicides rose sharply between 2007 and 2015 – from 75 to 134. Separate figures showed that 1,180 students with mental health problems left university in 2015 – a rise of 210% in comparison to five years earlier.

Pan European Networks Ltd