Nearly half of all students dont talk about their mental health
A recent survey has found that nearly half of students don’t talk to each other about their mental health.
The Student Housing Company surveyed 2,460 university students across England, Scotland and Wales about the impact of the university experience upon their mental health and general wellbeing. Of the students surveyed, 71% said that they suffer or have suffered from some form of mental illness – including depression, anxiety and eating disorders – showing just how prominent mental health issues are among young people.
Whilst the majority of students stated that they do not talk about their mental health issues with their university friends, students nationwide resoundingly agreed that “friends are vital to [their] wellbeing at university”. Many students cited feeling “too uncomfortable” to talk about these subjects with others and are hesitant to open up about such personal topics.
Research also showed that 40% of students would prefer to suffer in silence than to seek professional medical advice through their universities, saying that they would feel “too worried” or “too ashamed” to speak to anyone.
Grant Smith, Mental Health Ambassador at The Student Housing Company says: “If students feel they are or may be experiencing mental health problems, it can be difficult to know which way to turn. As an accommodation provider, we are working to reduce the ‘worry’ and ‘shame’ so often felt by students experiencing this by opening up conversations about mental health as a part of everyday life at our residences.”
Although many universities are taking steps to implement specific mental health staff within their support teams, many students clearly still feel uncomfortable speaking freely about their problems. It seems that there is still a great need for improvement, with 15% of students saying they have sought help through their university but didn’t find the experience helpful or reassuring.
The Student Housing Company are actively campaigning to help students suffering from mental health illnesses. Smith explained: “In 2014 we signed the Time to Change Pledge run by mental health charities Mind and Rethink and put together an action plan to implement across our residences. This year we will be renewing that action plan, providing more events, more support and more information for our residents so they know where to turn if they need help.”
The research has reinforced just how demanding the transition between school to university is for students, signifying the need for more supportive and open environments.