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Counselling on campus is crucial as student anxiety grows

Making sure students are aware of counselling services on campus is crucial as pressures inside and outside of university increase, according to Brunel’s Dr Ruth Caleb.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said that university students are becoming more concerned about the risk of debt and living costs - as the number in the UK reporting mental health problems is shown to have doubled in the past four years.

Dr Caleb, Chair of Universities UK’s mental wellbeing working group and Head of Counselling at Brunel University London, said: “I think students are coming into university very anxious and this is a change I’ve seen. They may be afraid that they may be building up a very large debt and living expenses have to be paid for, so some are working very long hours too.

“There is positive news though because they are also more inclined to be able to come to counselling services and other wellbeing services to ask for support.”

For universities too, Dr Caleb added, having services that deal with the issue of mental wellbeing quickly and effectively makes good business sense.

She said: “Every student that we keep at university is one that brings in fees. We worked out at Brunel University London that for the students who were considering leaving before they came to counselling and the students who decided to stay because of counselling, we saved the university a conservative estimate of two-and-a-half million pounds last year.”

Dr Caleb added that changes in society, such as an increase in divorce rates and the break-up of family homes at around the time students leave for university, are contributing to the growing concern.

Hear the full interview here.

Find out more about counselling services on campus here.