Guardian article highlights the rise in student use of counselling services

A Guardian article today  - University mental health services face strain as demand rises 50% - highlights the increasing strain upon University counselling services as demand increases. Students accessing counselling services in the Guardian sample rose from just under 25,000 five years ago to more than 37,000 in the 2014-15 academic year, a 50% rise. 

Waiting times to see student counselling can be lengthy: up to 10 or 12 weeks are not uncommon, which can be the equivalent of a whole term/semester, which means that problems can escalate.  

The study very much reflects my own experience over the last 5-10 years of seeing increasing numbers of students presenting with personal problems.  Some of that may be a greater willingness to talk about mental health issues, which is a good sign, but also many students are arriving at university with anxiety, stress and depression, often the result of the way the education system benchmarks their performance at every stage, and the increasing pressure they experience from rising tuition fees and their own (and family's) expectation.

It has been the increasing waiting times for my students to see student counselling services (8-10 weeks at peak times) that led me to train as a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist.  Many personal issues students face can be significantly resolved with only a few sessions of appropriate therapy, like CBH, which focuses on providing long-term resilience skills for good mental health.  So getting the right help quickly and early can make all the difference.

Bill Sheate, 23 September 2016