From Red Pepper: University students are facing unprecedented rates of mental health crises due to a combination of financial insecurity and ever-increasing academic pressure.
“Meanwhile, our futures promise astronomical debt levels and so, there’s more pressure than ever to make that gamble count for something, securing the ‘graduate premium’ on future earnings. In reality, that premium is shrinking; the earnings gap between those with degrees and those without them will shrink further – partly due to more people going to university, but corollary to an enormous drop in wages and a rise in deskilled, precarious employment across the board. Rewarding jobs are fewer and further between, and many students are left with those tens of thousands of pounds of debt and wages too low to compensate for them. This fosters an even more ruthlessly competitive environment. This undermines meaningful education in favour of metrics designed to evaluate ‘transferable skills’. But this cocktail of financial insecurity and a relentlessly high-pressure environment comes at a higher price still. The number of students reporting mental health issues has hit record levels, and so have the number of registrations to on campus counselling services. Suicide rates have soared to disturbing and unprecedented levels.”