Think Positive’s new research report, Breaking the Silence (download here) reveals that student mental health is an area of increasing concern in Scotland today. The issues facing both students and student support services must be recognised and improvements made to ensure students receive the support they need to succeed.
Last year, Think Positive surveyed over 1800 students in a national stress survey. The results were published in the Silently Stressed report and reflected a worrying level of stress experienced by students and numerous barriers that they felt deterred them from approaching support for a mental health issue.
This month, Think Positive launches Breaking the Silence, a report which digs deeper behind the Silently Stressed statistics. Focus groups and interviews were held across the country and over 80 students and 10 staff members from across Scotland were involved.
mental health language is heavily stigmatised and there is a need to move towards more new and more positive terms.
what causes them most stress is juggling many competing priorities including academic, family, social and financial with money worries being an increasing concern.
they are very unlikely to take up any formal support for an issue affecting their mental health.
a number of barriers deter them from approaching support, the biggest of which is the stigma attached to mental ill health.
the way support services are being promoted on campus is often unhelpful.
Improved mental health training and resources for academic and other staff to equip them with the tools they need to play a supportive role.
Institutions should ensure a range of support options are in place which vary in the degree of their formality.
Support services should be promoted on campus in more effective ways, i.e. direct and personal interactions.
For these practical changes to happen however, NUS Scotland also recommends that:
In the face of pressure to cut budgets colleges and universities do not reduce counselling services in order to save money.
Student mental health is an area that continues to require further investment and development and is an area which institutions must recognise as an area of priority.
Download the Breaking the Silence report to see all its findings and recommendations.
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