Rise in students at Scots institutions seeking mental health help

Mental health Image copyright Time to Change

The number of students seeking help with mental health issues has risen by almost 50%, according to new figures.

NUS Scotland obtained the figures for the last four years to 2014/15 through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

The union said the statistics were "incredibly worrying" and urged politicians to act swiftly.

Only five of Scotland's colleges have full-time counsellors, with others relying on external help or ad hoc support services.

The figures, released during Mental Health Awareness Week, suggested a 47% increase in students inquiring about mental health services.

They also showed a 39% increase in students going on to receive counselling.

The FOI requests highlighted a 21% increase in the number of counselling staff at Scottish institutions over the four-year period and a 38% rise in national spending on counselling services to more than £2.8m.

The union's president Vonnie Sandlan said: "We cannot let the progress we've made in mental health support and awareness go to waste.

"There must now be a real concerted effort to ensure that universities and colleges have the necessary funding to help every student access the support services they need."

NUS Scotland has launched a website offering information and support for affected students.

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