The government and mental health
It is clear that the downfall of students mental wellbeing is not being sufficiently prioritised by the UK government. The continued use of outdated cost efficient methods by the government over recent years has created a breakdown of relationship between students and the government and has caused a consequent contribution to the downfall of our students mental health. This very decline can be seen by the statistics that always get hidden away in google articles, in 2020 it was reported that there was 12,526 students that committed suicide this number rose to 13,089 students in 2021. This unfortunate statistic clearly indicates that these students do not believe that their will be any improvement to their lives. Adding to this, when putting this statistic into perspective, 13,089 students is the number of students that would make up the population of a small university in the UK.
The lack of financial support
Firstly, It is important for the government to understand why these numbers are so shockingly high compared to when members of governing party was a student themselves. The first main reason that has become apparent over recent years is the lack of support financially to the students in the UK. Students maintenance loan is completely insufficient to pay for rent and food, the government expect students to decide on whether to pay for food or to go out with friends. No student should even have to consider the fact of sacrificing their relationship with friends and making new friends to benefit their mental wellbeing just so they will be able to eat. In fact, 59% of students argue that their mental health is impacted by financial issues. The only government advice on this matter is to go to the bank of the parents. The parents being the ones that are currently suffering from the damage of the cost of living crisis as well as recovering financially from the pandemic.
Another reason for the decline in students mental health is the parental pressure that seems to continually be present. This emotional stress that is imposed on students is shown to cause the most impactful form of stress in students mental health, which was shown in a study conducted in 2020. There can be different types of pressure that a student may associate with their parents, one being direct pressure. Direct pressure is when the parent will use anger in their tone, shout and maybe even sometimes force. This In direct pressure can be closely linked to guilt tripping and reminder of expectations in performance. It was shown in a 2015 study that if a student is to be brought up into a household of constant pressure in expectations whether it be academically or in sport, the student is likely to develop struggle into their adolescent period and also as an adult. These problems can be commonly diagnosed as anger management issues, depression and struggling to maintain relationships.
Loneliness amongst students
When students attend a new school, college or university they will have the expectation that they will find their life long friends in the first few weeks of classes. This expectation is further perceived through social media and seeing that other people in a similar position, are already part of a friend group and are 'happy.' The perception of the student can then cause the first stages of loneliness, this will be where the student will challenge their self worth and develop a feeling of incompetence and low self esteem. Unfortunately, this can cause extensive damage to the students academic performance which links to my previous point surrounding the pressure of parents. If the student is not comfortable in telling their parents that they feel lonely they will fall into the second stage of loneliness where they feel trapped.
Advice for students
Overall, truthfully the decline of students mental health does not seem to have any crucial improvement from the UK Government over recent years and the mental health issues will be very much apparent in most students lives while they are in education. The key way to decrease the amount of times that mental health issues become problematic in our day to day, is to attempt to speak to fellow students. This can be with the people that you live with, a new society, or even your friends at home. Some students may become defensive and not want to talk about it and that is fine, but eventually you will find someone that is comfortable in discussing the problems that they have faced. This may even lead to implementing the peers resolutions into your own methods of coping.