Campaigners say there is still a long way to go to support young people and prevent suicides after the government announced extra funding for mental health services for students.
Mental health charity Student Minds has received a three-year funding commitment of £262,500 annually from the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, to expand its work. provide Space for students.
The platform provides one-on-one mental health support for students as well as web, call and text services.
The funding comes after the government allocated £3m to help the NHS work more closely with universities when it comes to providing mental health support to students.
However, campaigners say there is a long way to go when it comes to providing students with the best mental health provisions possible.
Mental health activist Ben West told Sky News: “A lot of the students I spoke to didn’t know what was available, and even when they did know what was available, they mysteriously presented themselves to the audience. level there is a lot to worry about going.
“It’s a barrier to getting that help.”
He added that the differences between universities are also many.
“It varies widely from university to university,” Mr West said.
“Some of the universities I’ve seen and heard about are great, they’re very proactive in the support they offer, and some are incredibly underperforming.
“We need more regulation and guidance from the government.”
In 2018, Natasha Abrahart took her own life while in my second year at the University of Bristol.
Struggling with social anxiety, her health condition worsened as she faced increasing pressure around the university’s oral assessment.
Her department was made aware of her situation.
Her father, Robert Abrahart, told Sky News how Natasha’s roommate had written to staff about how the student had been contemplating suicide “and to some extent attempted” .
“At that point, you’d think people would take it and do something,” he said.
“Actually, yes, they helped her get to the GP service, but did nothing else in the department.”
Her mother Margaret Abrahart added: “I think they were pretty scared to talk to her in case it was bothering.
“But at the same time, they seem okay to put her in a really nasty situation.”
Her parents later learned of the more efforts their daughter had made to get help.
Mr. Abrahart said: “There are records of her searching the internet for ways to solve her own problems.”
Her mother added: “It is tragic to see the efforts she has made to deal with her own problems.
“It’s just one of those problems that’s too difficult and she needs help.”
Ultimately, a landmark court ruling found that university failures contributed to Natasha’s death.
At the time, the University of Bristol said staff had worked hard and diligently to support her and were committed to providing the best possible support for students.
The university has also applied to appeal the court’s decision.
The incident has sparked conversations around student mental health, and her parents continue to campaign for other students not to experience the distress Natasha has caused.
There are also concerns about the training around mental health being provided to staff directly students.
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Sky News collected data from 109 universities through a Freedom of Information request.
It shows that 98% give staff face-to-face mental health training.
However, it is not required in 67 of the 107 institutions – that is 63%.
And while 37%, 40 out of 107, have some form of authorization – in most cases this does not include all employees.
Clinical psychologist Peter Kinderman told Sky News that understanding mental health must be widespread.
“It should be part of a duty of care that all university staff – including cleaning staff as well as teaching staff – have to their students,” he said.
“It should be inherent in what universities do.
“If universities deny their responsibility to understand and then support students’ mental health, then I think they are at fault.”
Anyone feeling emotional distress or wanting to commit suicide can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK