Huge rise in number of university students seeking counselling

Rising counselling rates among students has been attributed to tuition fees Credit: PA

The number of students accessing counselling at top UK universities has jumped by 28% over three years.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show up to a 75% increase at some institutions.

More than 43,000 students had counselling at Russell Group universities in 2014/15 - compared to 34,000 three years earlier.

Mental health charity Mind believe this change is due to the hike in tuition fees to £9,000.

  • :: University of Leeds: 1,317 to 2,070 (57.18%)

  • :: University of Exeter: 1,125 to 1,549 (37.69%)

  • :: Queen's University Belfast: 584 to 833 (42.64%)

  • :: University of Edinburgh: 1,629 to 2,852 (75.08%)

  • :: University of Sheffield: 1,182 to 1,819 (53.89%)

  • :: University of Warwick: 1,385 to 1,752 (26.50%)

  • :: Durham University: 1,019 to 1,379 (35.33%)

  • :: University of Oxford: 1,465 to 2,096 (43.07%)

  • :: University of Glasgow: 1,145 to 1,800 (57.21%)

  • :: Cardiff University: 1,131 to 1,945 (71.97%)

  • :: University of Bristol: 1,396 to 2,141 (53.37%)

  • :: Imperial College London: 441 to 608 (37.87%)

  • :: London School of Economics and Political Sciences: 525 to 721 (37.33%)

  • :: University of Manchester: 1,914 to 2,556 (33.54%)

  • :: Newcastle University: 659 to 950 (44.16%)

  • :: King's College London: 1,927 to 2,472 (28.28%)

Stephen Buckley, from Mind, said tuition fee and student loan debt were "major contributors" to the rise.

"Today's students face an unprecedented financial burden with student loan and tuition fee debt higher than ever before," he said.

"On the other side of this is the financial stress and uncertainty around employment on graduation.

"Both of these are major contributors to mental health problems like anxiety and depression."

The National Union of Students (NUS) has urged universities to take the findings seriously.

The evidence is clear, the marketisation of education is having a huge impact on students' mental health.

Shelly Asquith, NUS vice president for welfare