August 6, 2014 11:08 am
There has been a significant increase in mental health issues in the 18-24 year old age range. This increase has happened over a number of years.
This increase in mental health concerns poses a real and difficult problem for Universities. Universities do not have any control over the increasing number of student with mental health concerns. These concerns manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from anxiety about coursework/exams to threats of suicide. In this climate, student support services are being asked to provide increasing levels of support with ever decreasing amounts of funding.
At the recent AMOSSHE conference, there were lots of discussions about how each University met the needs of their students and how those needs were changing. Some of those needs are being met by a change in working practice, such as a re-organisation of front-line staff or triage sessions.
An holistic approach is needed. This is agreed on. How this is achieved differs by institution. What is clear is this issue is not going to go away. Universities need policies and procedures with humans at their heart. University student support services are acutely aware of their duty of care to safeguard all their students & their passion for doing so shone through at the conference. It is increasingly important for higher education establishments to ensure their policies and safeguards are fit for purpose on a regular basis.
A Brave New World: its here to stay.