Universities must support students experiencing mental health challenges - Archibald
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said universities must ensure support is available for students experiencing mental health challenges.Speaking on the findings of a study by the Institute of Public Policy & Research (IPPR) on student mental health the Party's Further and Higher Education spokesperson said:"These findings are very concerning, they show the number of first year students who disclosed a mental health problem had increased five-fold over the past decade. They also showed a record number of 134 students who died through suicide in 2015.
"The Student Wellbeing Survey published by NUS-USI earlier this year also showed the scale of mental health challenges amongst students, with 78 percent indicating they had experienced concern about their mental health in the past year.
"In that survey, students stated the most common factors contributing to mental health issues were difficulties with courses and financial pressures. When asked what would help address mental health issues, 63 percent of students said increased financial support."The report on the IPPR findings also cited financial concerns as a contributory factor, linked to the level of debt that students now leave university with. This is something which must be addressed."It is vital that universities have adequately resourced support in place to help students experiencing mental health challenges and that must include referral to specialist care where appropriate. It is also important that students are encouraged to seek help and to be more of aware of their own, and others, mental health and emotional well-being."