Suicide rates among university students is at record levels

Numbers of students reporting mental health issues has increased according to new research

Suicide rates among university students is at record levels

A new report has found that a growing number of undergraduates are reporting mental health issues, and that a record number have committed suicide in recent years.

The study, conducted by the IPPR thinktank, has found that the number of students who reported a mental health issue during their first year has increased 500% in the last decade. The figure currently sits at 15,395.

The report also found that 134 students killed themselves in 2015. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of student suicides increased by 79%. In the same year, a record number of students the same year with mental health issues dropped out of university. That's an increase of 210% compared to 2009/10.

Craig Thorley, an IPPR senior research fellow, said young people's studies risked being disrupted.

"Universities must be ready to support these students, including, where appropriate, through referral into specialist care. But the extent of support is currently too varied, and many university services are overwhelmed by the level of demand."

The report recommends that the higher education sector should collectively adopt student mental health and wellbeing as a priority issue, and that the institutions should increase the amount of funding available to services that promote and support students mental health and wellbeing.

It further suggests that the government should facilitate a more systematic national strategy to improve the quality of data on student mental health and wellbeing, as well as work to help create place-based coalitions that aim to improve the health of students through better integration across services.

A student Premium to top-up the funding of GP practices with high proportions of student-patients was also recommended, in addition to a new digital NHS Student Health Passport, to facilitate a smoother continuation of care for students who move between home and university.

The full report, Not by Degrees: Improving Student Mental Health in the UK's Universities is available to read here.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.

Header image: UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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