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Tertiary - Student stress on rise, says NUS survey

NUS Scotland has called for increased investment in support services for students, after new research into student mental health in Scotland showed rising demand and existing services struggling to cope.

Its report, Silently Stressed, found that 75 per cent of student mental health services witnessed a rise in demand on last year, with 40 per cent of university services saying they could not meet demand.

Of the 1,800 students surveyed across further and higher education institutions, 80 per cent said they felt the stigma of mental ill-health would act as a barrier to their coming forward for help.

The survey found that only 29 per cent of students would feel able to approach their academic mentor if they experienced mental health problems; 17.3 per cent felt able to approach support services; 11.3 per cent their student association; and 6.8 per cent external organisations.

Citing work by the SeeMe mental health campaign in Scotland, NUS Scotland said that if one in four Scots experienced mental health problems at some stage, it meant more than 125,000 students would be affected by this form of illness.

The NUS Scotland survey also found:

- 90.5 per cent stressed by exams and assessments;

- 75.2 per cent stressed by considering career prospects;

- 83.3 per cent stressed by managing time and deadlines;

- 54.6 per cent stressed by self-image;

- 48.7 per cent stressed by paying rent and bills;

- 68.2 per cent stressed about having enough money to get by;

- 38 per cent stressed by dealing with student loans;

- 35.2 per cent stressed by dealing with commercial debt;

- 50 per cent stressed by working in a paid job.

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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