By Erin Kearns.
The number of students in higher education in the UK who suffer from mental health issues and suicidal thoughts has risen over the last decade according the the Office for National Statistics. In an effort to combat this, universities and colleges across Scotland are offering confidential, free services to help students in need.
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place September 10 each year and aims to raise awareness as well as educate about the causes of suicide and warning signs to look for. It also wants to help people show compassion and care for those who are in distress in their community as well as question the stigma surrounding it.
This years theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” which they say is to highlight the “essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention – collaboration.”
The campaign says that everyone has a role to play and that as a collective, the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today can be addressed.”
Throught the year, the University of West of Scotland offers their students counselling services across their four campuses.
Their website states: “The counselling team aims to create a safe affirming and welcoming environment that embrace human diversity. it is very important for us to provide equality of services and care to everyone.”
If UWS students are looking to request an appointment, they can do so through the Hub or Student Link or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Waiting times are normally between one to two weeks but if quicker help is needed then a well being appointment can be made.
Ayrshire College also offer a range of service to help students who are struggling to cope. Linda, who works in Inclusive Learning on the Ayr Campus said:
“if we have students that are struggling with mental health they can either send refer or can be referred by a lecturer or support staff.
“They would come to inclusive learning and have a needs assessment…That gives us the opportunity to get to know the student and get to look at the difficulties they’re having and how their condition is impacting on their learning.”
“We could then do a summary support plan to go to their lecturer and highlight where their areas of concern and are how best the lecturer can support them.”
Laura McDonald, a Student Services Advisor at Ayrshire College stated:
“All of us in student services are all ASIS trained which is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills.
“With it being suicide prevention week we will be running several awareness raising session.”
Video credit : Brodie Gettins.