‘Tell universities of mental health issues’
STUDENTS should declare mental health problems on their applications, university leaders said yesterday.
Universities would be better able to support students if they had a full understanding of their needs, according to Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England.
Speaking at the Westminster Higher Education Forum yesterday, he said that universities were heading towards a mental health crisis and simply hiring more councillors will not solve the problem.
Prof West, who chairs the Universities UK mental health working group, urged students to inform their prospective university of any mental health problems they suffered from, adding: “It won’t affect their application. We want to be able to support them through their studies.
“But if we don’t know, then it’s difficult for us to work out how best to do so. We would prefer students to indicate they need that support; then we can put something in place.”
Prof West, said that the number of students and staff who require support is increasing year on year, and it is hard to access the right help.
“This is not just about the university,” he said. “We have recognised the answer isn’t just putting more and more counsellors or resources in. We have to find a different way of managing this.”
A number of universities are strengthening their mental health provisions, amid concern from parents about how their children will cope with settling in, and the pressures of student life.
Bristol University announced earlier this year that it is spending £1million on “well-being advisers” amid a raft of measures to counter growing concerns about mental health, following a recent spate of suspected student suicides.