Published on October 16, 2013 | by Hannah Lockley

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UAL counselling meets rising demand

Atmospheric picture of depressed person holding head in hands

More UAL students are now seeking help for mental health problems. [Joshua Hayes]

UAL has seen a substantial rise in the use of its counselling services, according to a new investigation.

Demand for counselling across UK universities has risen by a third since 2008, while numbers have more than doubled in five universities; at UAL the increase was 56 per cent.

Head of Counselling at UAL, Ken Ewings, suggested this was due to an increase in workshops available across all campuses: “As well as offering one-to-one support, the UAL Counselling and Mental Health Team has been able to increase the number of workshops it offers on a range of topics, which has increased the number of students engaging with the service,” he said.

In all, 114 universities replied to the survey, with the University of Glasgow seeing the largest increase – from 513 students seeking counselling to 1,180.

Assistance

A spokesperson for Glasgow University told The Guardian: “It is true that there has been a rise in the number of students seeking assistance, this may, at least in part, be due to increased awareness of the services and support that is now available.”

A recent NUS report on mental illness revealed that 20 per cent of students considered themselves to have a mental health problem, and 13 per cent have suicidal thoughts.

NUS Wales Women’s Officer, Rhiannon Hedge, believes students’ mental health problems should be taken more seriously: “We need to recognise the role of education in mental health. The life change that a move to university brings is acknowledged as being one of the major shifts which can prompt mental health issues.”

Ewings maintains that UAL is meeting demand, saying: “We currently have two Mental Health Advisors and continually monitor demand to ensure we have an appropriate level of support.”

 

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