Study: 74% Of University Students in Scotland Report Mental Health Issues

74 percent of university students in Scotland reported having low wellbeing, according to research involving 15,000 students pursuing studies at 19 universities in Scotland published by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

The Thriving Learners study has revealed that 36 percent of student participants have reported moderate severe or severe symptoms of depression, reports.

Furthermore, 45 percent of student participants have reported serious psychological issues that needed professional help. The report by the MHF recommended the government to provide more support for mental health issues, calling for the following:

  • student wellbeing to become a measure for success at all Scottish universities
  • increase government funding for focused wellbeing support
  • all universities to undertake more research & training to understand better the impact of trauma on student mental health

While thanking all students that participated in the survey, the Principal of Glasgow Caledonian University and Lead Member for Mental Health at Universities Scotland, Pamela Gillies, said that mental health is a strategic commitment of all institutions in Scotland as well as the priority of every Principal.

“We will act, individually and collectively, on the findings and recommendations. Having had the benefit of being close to the research throughout, I can say that we’ve wasted no time and we are already acting on the findings. We owe that to every student in our institutions,” Gillies said.

Meanwhile, the Associate Director of Mental Health Foundation in Scotland, Julie Cameron, said that the number of students experiencing mental health issues is alarming, pointing out that it is essential to provide the right support in order to avoid mental health problems developing.

“Currently the path to mental health and wellbeing support for students can be confusing and often the proposed solution is mental health counselling, for which there may be a lengthy wait,” Cameron said.

She further said that conversations about wellbeing and mental health need to be normalized, so students can feel comfortable to reach out for help, but also that both students and staff understand that support does not necessarily mean mental health counseling.

Cameron expressed delight that universities across Scotland have been open to recommendations and continued improvement, including “incorporating student wellbeing within their measures of success.”

The survey and research have been carried out between January and April 2021 amid the second COVID-19 lockdown, aiming to understand the current state of students’ mental health, the available support, and what else might or work or is needed.

The research has been led by MHF in collaboration with Universities Scotland and funded by the Robertson Trust.

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