Research developed by the project team highlights the need to focus on this ‘transition age’ where young people may fall through the ‘gap’. The below details some of the key health issues that university students grapple with; we see that these health conditions are even further exacerbated when we look at more marginalised and vulnerable groups, and we see similar issues in other cohorts of young people leaving home for the first time.
Students Mental Health
• 1 in 4 students suffer from mental ill health
• Students are at a vulnerable age for onset of mental illness and stigma around mental ill health remains
• Rates of mental ill health in students are rising perhaps due to competitive ethos, social media and financial pressures
• Most common: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, behavioural or developmental issues and learning disabilities
• Suicide rates are rising - 1 in 3 students have suicidal thoughts. Tragically there were five suicides at York University in one academic year and three suicides in one term at Bristol University
“Doing a degree is hard. Doing a degree with a mental illness feels 100x times harder.”
Student with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Students Physical Health
•12% of young people have a long-term condition (LTC)
• Students with a chronic or LTC may be living independently for the first time
• Those with newly diagnosed conditions must manage these far from home support
• Students may indulge in more risky behaviours such as drinking, drugs and unprotected sex
• Students in close proximity are at risk of infectious diseases such as meningitis
• Often there is poor communication and continuity of care between home and university health services
“When I moved to uni they wouldn't even take into account that my sugars would probably be all over the place… it was so stressful”.
Student with diabetes
Key statistics clearly demonstrate that care leavers are disproportionately impacted by health inequalities, and hence they are a key focus of the PHR programme. It is important to recognise that a person raised in their parental family usually experience a gradual transition into adulthood, whereas for a young person leaving care, they can often abruptly ‘become an adult.'
(Young Minds survey of 5,095 teachers)
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