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Kirsten Dunst Crazy/Beautiful (John Stockwell, 2001)
Kirsten Dunst gets sad in Crazy/Beautifulvia teenagebedroomsonscreen.com

Four out of five students suffer from mental health issues

A sobering new NUS survey shows that 33 per cent of young people have had suicidal thoughts

While winter can normally be a pretty dark time for many, the subject of mental health is something the UK very rarely likes to talk about. This is despite the fact that 2015 has seen rates of male suicide rocket upwards, crippling cuts to healthcare and a sharp rise in anxiety and depression among young women. In most cases, the support that’s so desperately needed just doesn’t seem to be there.

Now, according to research published in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), there’s more to add to that growing pile of statistics. A new study from the NUS has found that a shocking four out of five British students are suffering from mental health issues – with 33 per cent admitting to suicidal thoughts (that figure rose to 55 per cent to students who did not identify as heterosexual).

The damning results were pulled from a survey of 1093 students, taken earlier this year. It revealed that more than half of participants did not seek support for their issues, with many left unsure of where to find it. 40 per cent also admitted to being “nervous” about the help they would receive from their universities.

“I think mental health issues are extremely common among students but it’s something not many people want to acknowledge or accept that they are suffering from,” said Aoife Inman, a second year University of Manchester student. “ University was pitched to me as ‘the best years of your life’ and there is definitely an anxiety among young people to live up to that expectation. For those of us who struggle with mental illness at university you can feel constant disappointment for not fitting the student stereotype.”

According to the results, 62 per cent of students revealed that they felt feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, with 77 per cent experiencing anxiety. One Exeter student even admitted to taking himself to A&E on “numerous” occasions because of his rising stress levels. 

“These findings are deeply concerning, and reaffirm the stark challenges that persist around providing effective support to students in universities and colleges,” stated disabled students’ officer for the NUS, Maddy Kirkman. “Alongside the impact of funding cuts to student support, including maintenance grants and the disabled students’ allowance, this shows a worrying lack of concern for students living with mental health issues.”

The results come in the same week that MPs are due to meet with the APPG to discuss student mental health – though they have yet to make any comment on the findings.