More students at the University of Sussex are seeking counselling help for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety than academic issues.

According to the University, the number of one-on-one appointments available to students has been increased in order to cope with the rise in the demand for counselling services.

Director of Counselling Service, Mel Withers, said: “We offer evidence-based cognitive behaviour therapy and psychodynamic therapies and we are well resourced.”

Mel Withers said that the University of Sussex has a greater openness about mental health issues.

The University has shown its commitment to offering support for students who suffer from mental illness by raising awareness and increasing the quality of service available.

Statistics show that the number of students seeking counselling across UK universities has risen from over 52,000 between 2011 and 2012, to over 62,000 last year.

The statistics show that students and young people are finding it increasingly hard to cope with tests, grades, study schedules, their appearance, and relationships.

Jordan Burns, 22 year old Journalism student, said: “I think it’s really hard because there is a lot of pressure on students at university, and expectations are really high.

“It sometimes can  feel like bad grades are the end of your life.”

A spokesperson for the University has stated that students seek counselling for issues ranging from eating disorders, relationships, drugs and alcohol to identity and loss of loved ones:

They said: “Only 19 percent of Sussex students who attend counselling ask for support because of academic issues and concerns and 35 percent for relationship difficulties.”

Rianna Gargiulo, the Students’ Union’s Welfare Officer is of the opinion that the University of Sussex is more open to addressing these issues more than other universities.

She said: “Sussex has a higher than average number of students accessing counselling services but this is partly to do with our campaigning and the availability of services here.”

The Counselling Service and the Student Life Centre run 24-hour sessions for students to access. There is also a self-help online service called Calm Relief Series.

Tolu Omoyeni

Photo: bottled_void, under creative commons

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