Contact our parents to help with mental health, say students

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Students want universities to contact their parents if they have concerns for their mental health, a national survey has found.

The finding is reported in the 2019 Student Academic Experience Survey, which seeks the views of 14,000 students each year. It reveals worrying levels of poor mental wellbeing among students, and of anxiety in particular. 

81% of students said that universities should not let data protection laws prevent them from informing families if students need help. Only 18% said they would not want parents or a guardian involved.

The issue has come up in inquests into deaths of students who have killed themselves. Parents have said if the universities had told them that their children were struggling, deaths might have been prevented.

Bristol University, at which a dozen students have died, is piloting a scheme in which students opt into a contact plan at enrolment and identify a trusted adult for the university to contact if it has concerns. Last autumn 94% of freshers and existing students signed up.

Adapted from an article in The Times.

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