Bristol comes 68th out of the 80 UK unis in the mental health league table

The study is the first of its kind to include mental health support services as part of their rankings

In a study by mental health charity HUMEN, 80 of the country’s universities were ranked on their support offered for students’ mental health.

The study is unique in that it is the first to take into consideration the quality of the uni’s mental health services and wait times, as well as how much they actually spend on student support.

Recently-published data by the Office for National Statistics revealed there were 319 suicides at English and Welsh universities over a four year period, from the 2016/17 to 2019/20 academic years. However, the number may tragically be even higher – Freedom of Information requests sent by National World reveal 59 per cent of UK universities don’t actually record student suicides.

Whilst Bristol ranked 14th overall in the Guardian University Guide 2022, and joint seventh for UK Graduate Employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022, the University of Bristol came in 68th out of the 80 UK unis in the HUMEN mental health league table.

This information is unsettling news for students, particularly in light of the news that a court recently found the university had discriminated against its student Natasha Abrahart, finding its actions contributed to her death by suicide in April 2018. (The University of Bristol is currently considering appealing the court’s decision.)

A Bristol Uni spokesperson said:

“The results in no way reflect the dedication of our staff and the support they offer to students, nor do they tally with our own extensive student surveys and the largely positive feedback we receive about our services.

“Along with other universities, we have concerns about the methodology used for this table. We feel strongly that the complex issue of students’ mental health is not an appropriate subject for league tables, and have serious concerns that it might deter students from reaching out, which is the exact opposite of what we’re working hard to encourage.

“Any student needing support should not be afraid to reach out to our Wellbeing services.

“We have asked Humen to provide us with more details, both about Bristol’s performance and their methodology, to enable us to assess the veracity of the ranking and see whether it highlights areas where further improvements can be made.

“We must never be complacent and always seek to better understand what services are working well and where potential improvements can be made to ensure our students are able to access the very best support.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably, for men aged 15 to 35) on 0800 58 58 58. You matter.

A list of wellbeing services available to Bristol students can be found here.

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