'Universities risk “damaging” students by giving them unnecessary counselling for mental health when they just need to join a society, the author of a new report has said.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) has urged institutions to distinguish between wellbeing issues and mental health conditions so that students are given the correct support.
Students with mental health issues may need to see a councillor or potentially be referred for treatment on the NHS.
Meanwhile those who have low levels of wellbeing could do more to help themselves, for example, by joining a club or society, taking up a new hobby or confiding in a friend.
The number of university students reaching out to mental health facilities is up by 50 per cent in five years, an analysis last year found.
The number of students seeking help rose from 50,900 to 78,100 between 2012 and 2017, while budgets towards mental health services increased by 40 per cent.
“Some universities are merging their mental health and wellbeing services,” said Rachel Hewitt, the author of the Hepi report titled Measuring Wellbeing in Higher Education.
"It can be damaging in the sense that people are potentially not getting the right treatment they need. “We don’t want to be in a position where students who are just suffering from low levels of wellbeing are being medicalised in terms of the response.”
She said students with low levels of wellbeing or feeling stressed by exams can help themselves by joining a new club or society, or talking to a friend about their problems.'
Read more: Education Universities risk 'damaging' students by giving them unnecessary counselling, report finds
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