Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mental Health an Issue as Students Struggle at Uni; There Is Growing Concern over the Number of Suicides by Students at British Universities. SIMON MEECHAN Looks at the Help Available in the North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mental Health an Issue as Students Struggle at Uni; There Is Growing Concern over the Number of Suicides by Students at British Universities. SIMON MEECHAN Looks at the Help Available in the North East

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON MEECHAN

STUDENTS with mental health problems are "slipping through the gap", a report warns amid an alarming spike in university suicides.

A Universities UK (UUK) report says several higher education institutions have seen a rise in student suicides over a short space of time, while the number of young people dropping out with mental health problems has trebled in recent years.

It cites a recent study which found 94% of universities have seen an increase in students seeking mental health support.

The report calls for universities, schools, colleges, the NHS and voluntary organisations to work together to make sure students get mental health support.

UUK says students face a range of challenges at the same time, such as living away, moving to a new city and having to forge new friendships.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol and chair of UUK's Mental Health in Higher Education Advisory Group, said: "The system of mental health care for students must be improved.

"Health services aren't properly designed to help students as they move from home to university. This is too important to ignore and we must not fail a generation by not doing what is required."

The research features several accounts from students and includes some of the difficulties they face, with one reporting they could not access support services while at home during the holidays.

Another said: "When I moved out of my home area to university, I could no longer access the NHS service I had been with for over a year because I was registered with a GP in another county.

"This was a difficult experience, which left me feeling uncertain of what services I could receive."

Student suicides in the UK have increased from 108 in 2001 to 134 in 2015, the research states.

There are currently 2.3 million people studying at universities in the UK.

Paul Jenkins, chief executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We need to improve the links between local NHS services and the support that universities provide. …

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