The University of Kent has come third in a nationwide ranking of the way that universities look after the mental health issues of their students.
Rankings by student news service The Tab place the university after Reading and St Andrews in a listing of 47 higher education institutions.
The university has a wide and expanding set of services available to students reporting these issues, according to Dr Tim Noble, senior partner of the University Medical Centre in Giles Lane.
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Speaking at an opening meeting on Thursday, 15 November, organised by the Canterbury Society, he described services including those provided by well-being officers and psychiatric liaison nurses as well as an exam stress programme, cognitive behaviour therapy and an eating disorder unit.
Examining some services which are now being discussed nationally, he commended exercise as a way of improving mental health as well as music and cooking.
Canterbury charities Porchlight and the Umbrella Centre offer cooking and art therapy. It is possible that such services might be expanded if more funds are made available and if more doctors find that these therapies produce results.
Overall, Dr Noble was quite positive about the mental well-being of students. “Graduates are in better health overall than non-graduates,” he said.
And even if the numbers of students self-reporting in this area, he said: “Anxiety and depression are manageable and most people will get better.”
In a discussion of the underlying issues, he was keen to encourage students to enjoy “the journey” as well as arriving at the destination. Pressure to achieve top class results and to develop a top flight career could get in the way of enjoying the time spent at university.
He was also keen for students to develop resilience. Whilst the university and the Medical Centre continue to expand services in this area, Dr Noble points to some of the nuances. He said: “There is evidence that the more services you offer, the more people self-declare themselves unwell.”