KU students talk about mental health at the university
KU students talk about mental health at the university

Students need more help to tackle mental health problems

KU students have raised concerns about insufficient mental health support after it emerged that the number of students seeking help rose 50 per cent nationally last year.

According to a recent investigation by The Guardian, the strain on mental health services has reached a record high and some Kingston students feel they aren’t getting the help they need.

A study in September by the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) revealed that suicides at British universities have increased 79 per cent since 2015, a record high, and prompted The Guardian’s own investigation.

The latest National Union of Students figures show that 78 per cent of students experienced mental health problems in 2014.

How KU students feel

Creative writing and English literature student Kieran Hawkyard, 20, said: “I called the KU Wellbeing Team three times over a period of a month, but they never answered or got back to me. I’m shocked every time I look back, considering the severity of what was happening to me.”

Hawkyard suffered with substance abuse, anxiety and depression, but he has still not heard back from the KU Wellbeing Team due to the high demand for their services.

He added: “In my experience, it felt every choice I made and every person I interacted with were always conspiring against me, even though I knew they weren’t. Such as the medical professionals not getting back to me. I was falling even fucking further, and started contemplating something that I really didn’t want to, but I felt like no other option was available to me.”

However, other students have benefited from KU’s services. A 20-year-old female KU student said: “My first appointment was arranged very quickly and I have received a good service since my initial appointment.”

The 20-year-old student said: “I understand that mental health services aren’t readily available but my experience with KU Wellbeing has always been really positive.”

How KU can help

As mental health issues can be classed as a disability, universities are legally required to provide a duty of care to their students under the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and the 2010 Equality Act.

A university spokeswoman said: “Kingston University is dedicated to providing a range of support services to students who may be dealing with mental health issues.”

KU offer a range of services to help students with mental help including counselling, self-help guides, drug and alcohol advice, drop in advice sessions and an online support service SilverCloud.

About Megan Flaherty

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