Student Mental Health Project
- Liverpool has a student population of 50,000, a significant number in a city of around 470,000 people.
- Students have unique mental health challenges. With many students living away from the place they have grown up, family, and familiar support networks, they can struggle to make new friends and find their own identity. They may also be exposed to drugs, alcohol and issues around their sexuality and sexual health for the first time, while academic and financial pressures can exacerbate existing issues. Services have noticed a surge in students experiencing social anxiety in recent years.
- A recent survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) found that 8 out of 10 students (78%) say they experienced mental health issues in the last year, while a third (33%) said they had had suicidal thoughts.
- Patient feedback has highlighted that there are many barriers to students accessing timely and appropriate support for mental health concerns. These include low awareness of what support is available, long waiting lists, time-limited sessions, and a lack of flexibility for students moving between Liverpool and another home city.
In February and May 2016 Liverpool universities, GPs, mental health services and commissioners attended a 'round table' event in February to discuss ideas for practical steps we can all make to improve support for students' mental health in Liverpool.
Everyone pooled their experiences on subjects like:
- The scale of need, with more and more students studying in Liverpool and the increased tensions and difficulties that many students face, more students than ever need support in tackling mental health problems that they encounter
- The range and extent of services available to help students who encounter problems with their mental health
- The importance of people being able to access help as soon as possible
- The barriers at the moment to people seeking and receiving help early – the stigma around mental health, waiting times for some services and not knowing where to start to get help
We have developed a resource list of Support Services for Students in Liverpool for university staff and GPs to complement the Wellbeing Liverpool and LiveWell directories, and the Healthwatch Liverpool signposting service. This is available at the bottom of the page.
We are meeting again in July - get in touch if you'd like more details.
We are also interested in exploring wider health improvement strategies for students, including timely registration with GPs and dentists (following from our work registering students at fresher's fairs), digital support and the particular needs of international students.
Do you know who to contact if you or a friend have mental health concerns? Do you feel like your care is affected by moving between Liverpool and your home address? Do you always feel listened to by professionals?
We have a short survey that we'd really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to complete.
You can fill in the survey online:
or download the survey and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
or post to Freepost RRZK-UHLY-KGJT, Healthwatch Liverpool, 1st Floor, 151 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2AH.
We'll gather your responses and provide independent feedback to decision makers about your experiences, current issues, and areas of need, influencing positive change for the future.
If you would like to contribute to the project in any way, however small, please contact us on 0300 77 77 007 or email email@example.com