Saturday, 18 January 2020 13:25

Uni's to tell parents about mental health problems

Parents should be informed by universities if they suspect their child is struggling with mental health problems, say higher education students.

Normally, students who go into higher education would cringe at the very prospect of parents knowing what they were up to at university, but it appears that the mental health issues facing our youngest generation is that bad that even students want everyone to be open and honest about emotions and wellbeing – even if that means being an open book and parents knowing everything.

A survey which featured around 5,000 students was conducted to establish the true extent of student mental health, and the figures were startling to say the least. Almost three quarters of respondents said that they wouldn’t be bothered if the university informed parents about their behaviour if they suspected they were struggling, with only 25 per cent saying they would be upset.
The figures show that we are finally accepting mental health for the big issue that it is, but there is still a long way to go.

For instance, only 13 per cent of students say they are ‘content’ with life at the minute, whilst a staggering 67 per cent of students say they regularly suffer with bouts of depression and anxiety. A lot of students say they attribute the feelings of depression and anxiousness to financial pressures, and not the stresses of university work.

Currently, there is only one university in the UK offering a scheme where students can opt in to their parents being informed should they start to show signs of mental illness – and that is the University of Bristol.

Judging by the results and the figures, however, there is scope for many more universities to follow suit and offer students extra support in this way.

Alice Standen, a second-year student who has suffered with anxiety all of her life, said: “It’s a fantastic idea, and most definitely should be rolled out to universities up and down the country. It’s well documented that mental health issues are massive amongst students and we all need to support each other in whatever way we can. I know many of my friends would sign up to such a
scheme. Who wouldn’t want their parents to know and support them if they’re struggling?”

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