Student mental health survey reveals worrying trends
Mind Your Head, a volunteer-led mental health campaign at the University of York, has conducted a student mental health survey for the second year in a row. The full report contained both a list of findings and a list of recommendations.
Student mental health has recently been a hot topic nationwide and particularly at the University of York, with concerns raised that the university’s Open Door team does not do enough to support struggling students, as has been previously reported in The Yorker. This report will add to fears that mental health problems among students are rising, since for example one of the report’s shocking key findings is that mental health difficulties were experienced by 4 out of 5 survey participants at the University of York.
Also concerning was the news that around 50% of respondents stated they have been diagnosed with a mental illness, with approximately 30% experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide while studying. Nonetheless, only a small proportion of respondents felt their mental health was fully supported by the university. The report further claimed that, “There is an underlying tone of students feeling uncomfortable with speaking to supervisors and staff about mental health difficulties”.
Going forward, the authors of the report believe that a review of academic staff and supervisors’ understanding, training and protocols concerning mental health would be the wisest course of action. This would involve requiring staff to reflect on their role in supporting students’ mental health.
Mind Your Head further elaborated that this would involve recognising that:
“All University of York staff have a responsibility to collaborate with, and actively raise awareness about, various support groups including those not directly endorsed by the university body. Departments and staff should encourage students to engage with good habits which can reduce common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. The University of York is strongly encouraged to lead on tackling student mental health problems on the behalf of students by initiating conversations with the NHS Vale of York CCG and other support services in the area”.