Sunderland University work to improve mental health services after their use rises 378 per cent in four years

A recent BBC case study into student’s mental health at the University of Sunderland has shown the use of mental health services at the university has risen by 378 per cent in four years.

Twentynine-year-old Sunderland student, Laurena Ana Kennedy, has been suffering from anxiety and depression since she was 14-years-old. Laurena frequently uses the services provided by the university and has said: “One of the key things missing from the service is not offering enough appointments at St Peters Campus.”

As Laurena is an anxiety sufferer she has said that having to travel into City Campus for appointments can be uncomfortable and sometimes means she misses appointments.

Between the years 2012 – 2017 the University of Sunderland has received an increase of over £100,000 in funding for their mental health services to help support the increase in their use.

We asked Tracey Mckenzie, Head of Wellbeing at the university, about why she feels there has been an increase in their mental health services. She said: “The university wellbeing team have worked really hard to become more visible and as we become more visible, more students come through to use our services.

“An increase in funding means we are able to provide additional days of support, ‘SilverCloud’ as an online 24/7 service for staff and students. We also now have a registered mental health nurse who is available to help with severe and enduring mental health issues.”

The large rise in students turning to the wellbeing services provided at the University of Sunderland saw 884 students using their services in the academic year of 2016-17 alone.

This increase in the use of the services at Sunderland has proved not to be tainting their ability to provide the essential services at a high quality. Student Laurena Ana Kennedy said: “It is necessary for students to have support with their studies when things become overwhelming and it is vital to help students deal with the stress of university in all forms.”

If you feel you would benefit from the mental health services provided by the University of Sunderland, you can contact them here.

Photo credit: Wellbeing, University of Sunderland

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