MORE students at the University of Portsmouth have sought mental health support in the past academic year, figures have shown.
Statistics show that 145 students approached the university’s mental health support services in 2012/2013 compared with 93 in the previous year.
Pam Ringland, mental health advisor at the university, said the figures could show a move towards reducing the stigma around mental health.
She said: ‘It has been a national trend.
‘A lot of my colleagues from other universities have noticed a rise in people asking for help with their mental health.
‘It’s difficult to know if it means there are more people experiencing mental health problems or more people are asking for help and being honest about it.
‘Part of it is that there is a reduced stigma now around asking for help.
‘People are more aware of the signs and the symptoms with people like Stephen Fry talking about it.
‘People might be noticing things a bit sooner and wondering if they do need to get a bit of help.’
Figures showed that 657 people used counselling services at the university, compared to 633 people the year before.
Ms Ringland added that the university, which has 23,000 students, supports people suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts.
‘We do offer support for students with those kinds of issues,’ she said.
‘There are a lot of students who do suffer from various mental health symptoms like depression which can lead to suicidal thoughts.’
She added it’s good to see that more people are seeking mental health support.
‘It’s a positive thing,’ she said. ‘It’s much better than people waiting until these things are serious.
‘We feel that more people come forward earlier because they don’t feel there was a stigma.
‘If people do have a mental illness or just a mental health difficulty such as anxiety or depression, it can impact on their ability to study, so getting help can help them get on track and achieve what they want from their education.’