Students and Mental Health
Building on initiatives such as The Art of Wellbeing, an event organised by SCUDD for academics in drama at York Saint John University in 2011, SCUDD has set up this project to continue these discussions. We hope that members will benefit from the resources on these pages and will continue to contribute articles, news items and examples of good practice to take this area forward.
Drama academics’ instincts that the number of students who are reporting mental health problems is rising is supported by research that suggests that issues and challenges around mental health are on the increase in higher education generally. A survey of 37 HEIs carried out by The Guardian found that the number of students accessing counselling services in their institutions has risen by 50% between 2010 and 2015. In numerical terms that represents 25 000 students accessing mental health services in the first survey, increasing to 37 000 by 2015.
We might point to any number of factors to account for this including the pressure on students now paying their own fees. However, one of the main reasons for this rise in numbers is that students are increasingly arriving at university with existing mental health problems. This may be as a result of a growing culture of acceptance of mental health and a reduction in the stigma of revealing that young people can suffer from poor mental health. Figures quoted by The Guardian show an increasing number of young men, for example, presenting with mental health problems and the number of men using the counselling services at the University of Edinburgh, for example, more than doubled in the period between 2010 and 2015.