Record numbers of students are now accessing counselling services on campus, a York Vision investigation can reveal.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show one in nine students accessed the Open Door Team throughout the last academic year – the highest since the service came into existence in 2007.
One in four students who spoke to the services did so for anxiety, depression or stress-related issues. Eating disorders saw 30 students attend, while self-harm and drug or alcohol-related issues saw 20 and 15 students attend respectively.
Most students who accessed the service had a mixture of issues or had an issue which could not be identified.
In total, since 2008, the number of students accessing Open Door has increased by 133 per cent, up from 747 to 1,719. More students were seen for anxiety, depression or stress in the first term of this academic year than were seen in the whole of the 2008/09 year.
Meanwhile, officials have introduced a ‘cancellation service’ after it was revealed one in three students did not turn up to their appointments.
When York Vision asked if any students had been rejected from getting help or placed on a waiting list, we were told that none had.
But when we approached the service to ask for an appointment, we received a response which said: “Unfortunately all the appointments with Open Door are currently fully booked.
“We do however occasionally get cancellations so please let me know if you would like to be added to the waiting list (if so, please provide a contact telephone number).
“Someone will then contact you when an appointment becomes available.”
A university spokesman said: “All Universities are seeing an increasing number of students using their counselling services. York’s Open Door Team are indeed used by around 1 in 10 students but aren’t just a Counselling Service.
“They offer a range of options for students to address barriers to study including CBT, Mindfulness and other 1:1, self help and group support. Many of the groups offered are delivered in Colleges offering solutions to anxiety and sleep issues.
“The awareness of the benefit of doing something about mental health difficulties and using the services available via ODT or the on-campus Unity Health Centre to overcome barriers to study should be seen as a sensible response to a fairly common difficulty and shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a concern.
“The University is also actively working to ensure that diagnostic and treatment services are suitably planned for in and around the City with students in mind as, whilst we can provide services to help students with barriers to study, we can’t and should not provide treatment for mental illness instead of the NHS.”