Why this petition matters
Explain the problem and why you care about it. Showing how it will impact you, your family, or your community will make people more likely to support it.
• Describe who is involved and how they are affected by the problem.
• Make it clear what happens if you win or lose.
1. Universities and mental health
Everyone talks about university being the best time of your life, but no one really mentions the mental health issues that come with it. Going to university is one of the biggest steps in young adult life, you’re leaving home and starting your journey of independence. This can be very appealing to most, as it is a chance to live life without parental supervision; but it is not until you’re there(?) and the novelty’s worn off, that the loneliness and homesickness sinks in. The transition to adulthood and independent living is a difficult time for young people, especially when they are at the age where there is an increased risk of developing mental health problems.
Research has shown that early intervention, in tackling mental health problems, can play a crucial role in outcome (Kosky & Hardy, 1992) so universities need to make it easier for students to access specialist treatment by ensuring adequately resourced services are provided. Most, if not all, universities offer support services to students, including counselling services. But being able to access this help is a growing issue, students find that they are waiting months for a response and are then turned away due to long waiting lists.
The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists (2011) report that access to mental health services in the National Health Service (NHS) has progressively narrowed in recent years to focus on those with the severest problems meaning that students with moderate mental health problems do not fit the criteria so do not receive treatment.
Students are prioritised based on the severity of their mental health problem, and this is leaving many without support.
2. Link to Aaron
Aaron Wells was one of these students. Aaron started university full of life and ready for the challenges ahead, he had no trouble making friends and soon found himself part of a large friendship group. He experienced all the fun aspects of the famous ‘university experience’, as well as some of the unacknowledged, negative parts. Aaron was an only child and leaving for university was the first time he had been miles away from home, without the comfort of his mother and father. The loneliness from being away from home started to settle in and he started to develop mild anxiety and depression. Upon starting his second year at university, Aaron received devastating news from home, that flipped his world upside down. After looking to various sources of escape, he contacted the university’s support services (including counselling), as somewhat of a final resort. He sought help from the university’s support service on a few occasions and either didn’t receive a response or eventually did, after 2 months of waiting, and was turned away and told to book an appointment with his GP to discuss his issues.
3. Why this law could help:
Explain what needs to change and who has the power to do something.
Purpose of the law?
Unfortunately, this is all too common with students seeking mental health support from their university, they are brushed off if their problems are not ‘severe enough’ and left to find external support, most of which they have to find a way to pay for!
Aaron was my only child and our life's
Will never be the same without him
If only we knew how much Aaron was suffering with his mental health
And the university’s did nothing to help him