Urgent action needs to be taken to tackle a worrying rise in the number of students suffering from mental health problems, said Dr Angela Goyal, Leeds GP.
The number of patients suffering from psychological distress had rocketed.Dr Goyal, who is also a YEP columnist, suggested factors could be the pressures of social media, exam stress and financial worries.
She said: “I could have a whole day where a significant proportion of young people I am seeing have mental health problems – so much so, we now have mental health professionals based at our practice specifically to deal with this. “Students come to me and tell me they feel isolated at university. Exam pressure is another issue and they also might be having to work to finance themselves at university, which is often too much to cope with.
“I suspect that pressure is also coming from social media. They are constantly bombarded with images of how they are supposed to look and how happy, successful and popular they are supposed to be. The reality is life isn’t like that.”
Dr Goyal, who is a mother of two teenagers, described the crisis as a “worrying trend in mental health” and said preventative measures needed to be taken.
“I feel like we are letting our young people down and it’s upsetting that so many are coming to me with these types of issues,” she said. “We need to recognise that young people are struggling and it’s a big problem. Everyone needs to take responsibility.”
Last October the YEP launched the #Speak YourMind campaign to encourage people to talk about mental health and help combat the stigma surrounding the issue.