Student mental health was the subject of a report by Grace Spitzer-Wong published on BBC NEWS ENGLAND  on 29th October 2018. It indicates that students are seeking mental health support more than ever before.  Numbers have increased by more than fifty per cent in five years.

 There is evidence that students are under much more pressure than before. The survey shows that  almost eighty thousand students sought help in 2016 to 2017, as reported by  eighty two universities. Some of these students can find it difficult to  admit to a problem and then look for appropriate help. Many students have major struggles with anxiety.  One student said that the drinking culture at university allowed him to numb his pain and  so normalise being exhausted in the day and hyperactive at night. Accessing mental health help may not be easy  because of long waiting lists, particularly for counselling.

 The STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH  budget for universities has increased by more than forty per cent in the last five years. Why has there been this growth in demand? The report suggests that the pattern of study in the UK has changed considerably. Fees are very high and many are balancing work, study and caring responsibilities. The job market can be very competitive with students feeling that they have to continually push themselves, perhaps more now than ever before. 

Although these reasons may be the most obvious, one wonders too about deeper unresolved issues. I wrote before about ‘The Epidemic of Loneliness’. In my personal contact with a number of overseas students over the last two years, this has been a fundamental issue. Others lack a clear sense of purpose and question what life is really all about. It may be difficult to quantify the increase in such factors as these, but one suspects that societal change has led to a  sense of feeling lost and alone in the world.


I have personally enjoyed teaching students on the theme of ‘Anxiety and Stress Management’. (This talk and other talks on Addictions, Depression and Suicide can be listened to on this website. Similar and further material is available in my book ‘Mindful of the Light – practical help and Spiritual Hope for Mental Health.‘)

The talk on Anxiety and Stress Management was included on a programme called  iLIVE LEADERSHIP led by Lenny Konschewitz (pictured below) which is for students in Belfast. This programme teaches students management and personal skills and provides mentoring of students in small groups. This programme which he has developed is now being extended to at least two more universities in the UK.


When I interviewed him, Lenny told me that iLIVE LEADERSHIP can help students find a balanced approach in leading their own lives and making healthy decisions. Students are encouraged  to navigate their way through life and develop self motivation skills without being controlled by the expectations of others. Small group mentoring helps students to express themselves and find support in a confidential environment. All of this is valuable in the area of STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH. 



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