In the past few years, a lot of attention has been devoted to mental health on university campuses. Primarily explored from the perspective of students, poor mental health has been reported widely all around the world – it seems university students are not mentally well.
Studies show a large proportion of students experience high levels of depressive symptoms. In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students – a forum established for MPs and their peers to discuss issues that affect students in higher education – found 33% of students had experienced suicidal thoughts in the past academic year.
Poor mental health at university is a big problem, not only because it affects how students learn, but because it also impacts whether they actually finish their degrees. Ultimately, symptoms of poor mental health affect the career potential and overall lives of students greatly.
Most research has pointed to challenges caused by the transition from high school to university life, coursework deadlines, exams and financial difficulties.
Recent research in the UK has shown that university students have a limited understanding of mental health issues and are hesitant to seek support. Administrators have noted the high prevalence of poor mental health and low levels of mental health literacy of students.
Across the UK, universities have taken different approaches to raising awareness of mental health disorders and addressing stigma associated with poor mental health.