At the end of 2016 we carried out a survey of student mental health and wellbeing which received a significant response. We launched the findings of the student wellbeing survey at NUS-USI conference in April and we again set the public agenda by gaining massive print, broadcast and online coverage for the mental health challenges facing students in Northern Ireland.
The student wellbeing survey findings help further frame the significant challenges we face in the year ahead. For example 78% of students surveyed indicated they had experienced mental health worries over the past year; with over half of all respondents not reaching out for any support at all; and a third unaware of the support available from their university or college. Also 46% of respondents said that mental health issues had impacted on their quality of life, 44% said that they had impacted upon their studies and grades, and 43% said they had impacted on their relationships.
Students also stated they were most likely to know about the counselling service at their place of study (87%). Fewer than half had heard of disability services (43%), or were familiar with peer support (36%), and only a quarter were knowledgeable about the support register. This is why we believe any part of any cross-departmental strategy should include resource to deliver a programme of work that would develop peer-led campaigns to address the culture and stigma surrounding mental health on campuses across Northern Ireland.
Keeping You in Mind intends to tackle the above issues and ensure that students have access to the right support and advice.