Research tells us that students are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems than the general population, and many people first encounter issues when they are at university or college.
From academic pressure to the anxiety of living away from home for the first time, many parts of the university or college experience make students more susceptible to poor mental health, and the pandemic has only added to their list of stresses.
The Welsh Government has increasingly viewed student mental health as a priority, and NUS Wales has secured pockets of funding for services on the ground, but without a joined-up strategy that connects provision in education with NHS services, students will continue to slip through the cracks.
We are calling on the Welsh Government to commit to a mental health and wellbeing strategy for students in the post-16 education sector that is supported by long-term funding.
We are already experiencing a student mental health crisis in Wales, and Covid has exacerbated students’ worries about their finances, their families, and their futures. NUS Wales has successfully secured millions of pounds worth of funding for wellbeing initiatives over the last few years, but now is the time for an overarching student mental health strategy backed by long-term funding.
In May 2021, 16- and 17-year olds in Wales will be able to vote in Senedd elections for the very first time. We will energise these newly enfranchised voters by running a voter registration campaign and placing student mental health front and centre of our manifesto. We will gather up-to-date research on student mental health in Wales to develop the evidence base and build public support, and we will provide a platform for students to tell their stories.
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