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Government needs to support suffering students

By Emma Jacobs

Monday 1 December 2014 Student Journalists

A NUS survey in 2013 showed that 20 per cent of students, out of 1,200, said they suffered from mental health problems. With this translating to one out of every five students, it is surprising the government aren’t doing more to help, reports NUS Journalist Emma Jacobs.

With the lethal mixture of late nights and looming deadlines, it’s not uncommon for students to whip out the proplus and coffee frappachinos.

However, sometimes sleep deprivation and stress can result in more than just droopy eyelids and can leave students in an impaired mental state. With the winter blues kicking in, it’s time those suffering are offered a hand to hold.

In 2011 the government launched the ‘mental health strategy’, providing £400 million to give more people access to psychological therapies. In supplying funding, the government are admitting that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. So why is it that students still find themselves with an inadequate degree of support?

The answer lies in cuts to nursing. The Royal College of Nursing says that 1,500 fewer beds are available since 2010, yet demand has increased by 30 per cent. This lack of correlation between help needed and the money required for the nurses to supply it is dangerous.

Many university and college students are thought to just be ‘overreacting’ or ‘going through a stage’. Because of this, they do not seek the help they need.

During exam periods, and in between, pressure on young people is immense. While adults instruct teens simply to ‘plod on’, mental health problems are often dismissed and a number of students later realise they lived through a bout of depression without proper diagnosis, treatment or support.

Thankfully, there are now schemes in place. NUS Scotland launched their ‘Think Positive’ campaign, which promotes good mental health and tackles the negative attitudes that exist about mental ill health, this year. It is important to stamp out our societies taboo that surrounds mental health and the campaign is making an attempt to do just that.

Unfortunately, those with a lack of understanding that those suffering are regular people, many of whom you don’t even realise are suffering, feed the stigma. Outfits such as the ‘psycho’ costume sold for Halloween unravel the hard work of charities such as NUS and the Samaritans.

It’s a fantastic start that preventative measures are being put in place. But before advising people to seek help, we need to work on supplying that help.


Hi, I’m Emma. I’m Deputy Editor of Kettle Magazine, a vlogger for Sky’s Stand Up Be Counted and a blogger. I’m currently in sixth form and hope to go on to study at university. I’m very interested in politics and have a tendency to get a bit too into debates in class. I’m also an English geek and love reading, writing and going to poetry recitals at the poetry café in London’s Covent Garden.

I look forward to exploring the theme of community within the student world. It’s where we live and what occupies our thoughts during boring classes and lectures. I know the struggles of balancing sixth form/college, friends and sleep whist living at home. The government isn’t doing enough to help us and so many social issues arise in our lives. NUS offers students a fantastic platform, now it’s time for those in power to listen to us. Let’s hope May 2015 brings change.