In recent years, mental health has become one of the most prevalent issues affecting people in the
UK. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In
England, a staggering 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem in any
given week. The most common mental health problem in England is generalised anxiety disorder
(GAD), affecting 5.9 out of 100 people. Other common mental health problems include post-
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (4.4 out of 100), depression (3.3 out of 100) and antisocial
personality disorder (3.3 out of 100).
In the UK, the freedom and fun enjoyed by students at university is recognised. However, this newly
found freedom does not come without additional stresses, as university life brings the greatest level
of responsibility that many young people have experienced. Students are one of the groups worst
affected by mental health issues. More than a quarter of students (27%) report having a mental
health problem of some kind. Thrown into an unfamiliar environment without friends or family,
combined with the pressure of increased financial responsibility and work deadlines, it is easy to see
why students in the UK are struggling.
Out of students suffering from mental health problems, females (34%) are more likely to report
suffering from a mental health problem than males (19%). The LGBT community suffers particularly
badly, with 45% reporting a mental health problem compared to their heterosexual peers at 22%.
Thankfully, mental health is gaining traction as an issue that desperately needs to be addressed
further. However, whilst at university it is especially important to be aware of the signs of mental
health issues that may affect you and those around you.
According to www.nhs.uk, these are the signs that someone you know may have depression:
- Has lost interest in doing things they normally enjoy.
- Seems to be feeling down or hopeless.
- Has slower speech and movements or is more fidgety and restless than usual.
- Feels tired or doesn’t have much energy.
- Overeats or has lost their appetite.
- Sleeps more than usual or isn’t able to sleep.
- Struggles to concentrate on everyday things, such as watching television or reading.
Over 1 in 5 people in England have had suicidal thoughts in their lifetime (20.6/100), and as students
are especially susceptible to mental health problems, awareness of the signs is vitally important. 4
The University of Reading counselling service contact:
Telephone: 0118 378 4216/0118 378 4218