Record numbers of students are beginning university this term, making the big emotional step of a new independent life, with many living away from home for the first time.
But there are warnings of rising numbers of students struggling to cope with life on campus, with sharp rises in the demand for counselling.
And there are questions about whether universities are providing enough support for emotional and mental health problems.
Ruth Caleb, chair of Universities UK’s mental well-being working group, says counselling services are facing an annual rise in demand of about 10%.
She estimates the use of counselling usually ranges between 5% and 10% of students, depending on the university, which would suggest at least 115,000 students are seeking help.
Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of Buckingham University, says this is a “massive problem” and universities have been “negligent” in accepting their pastoral responsibilities.
“Universities are not always honest about admitting the extent of the problems they have. They need to change, they need to take their responsibilities to students far more carefully.”
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