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72 per cent increase in counselling referrals at Lancaster Uni over three years

The most common reason for referral was anxiety


There has been a 72.5 percent increase in referrals to the Counselling and Mental Health service in the last three academic years, The Lancaster Tab can reveal.

Data obtained by The Tab as a result of Freedom of Information requests shows that the number of referrals rose by over 70 percent between the academic years 2015/16 and 2018/19.

The main reasons Lancaster students are referred for counselling was also revealed, including over a thousand students being referred to counselling for anxiety last year.

The university acknowledged that the number of referrals (2,044 in 2018/19) does not necessarily indicate the number of individuals being referred, as multiple referrals can be issued per student.

However, the number of referrals indicates that an average of 13 percent of the student population in 2018/19 would have been referred, as opposed to 8.88 percent of students in 2015/16 (averages calculated in line with student population increases).

The university also disclosed the reasons for the referrals to these services. The largest category for referrals in 2017/18 was anxiety, with 1,010 referrals, followed by depression with 929 referrals.

1,010 students were also referred as a result of issues with anxiety last academic year (2018/19). This means nearly half of the 2,044 students referred to the counselling service last academic year were referred because of anxiety.

Categories in 2018/19 changed, and now include: Abuse, academic, anxiety, depression – anger and mood change, eating disorders, relationships, self and identity, self-harm, sexual issues, and transitions.

Despite these figures, the university did not disclose the number of students referred due to financial concerns.

Full figures can be seen below:

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A new system of categorisation was implemented in 2018/19

Information on how to access the university’s counselling services can be found here.

Help and advice can also be found on the Mind website and the Samaritans website.