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6 in 10 students in contact with university mental health services

Image of student holding books
Element5 Digital | Unsplash

News round-up | by Conor D'Andrade

Over half (57%) of UK students sought help for their mental health from services provided by their university, according to a survey of 7,200 students from across 80 universities.

The survey, conducted by Humen, also revealed that 47% felt that their mental health had negatively impacted their experience at university.

Exacerbating these high numbers is likely the other finding that only 4% of staff have received “adequate training” for mental health.

On a more positive note, the data did find that 73% of men struggling with their mental health – who have typically been known to keep silent about their mental health – did try to access support services provided by their university.

However, only 19% of these went on to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Founder of Humen, River Hawkins, said: “While it's encouraging to see a number of universities performing well in Humen's university mental health league table, all universities need to make immediate improvements”

US lawmakers campaigning for stronger cannabis warnings

Lawmakers and doctors across California are campaigning to introduce laws that would require cannabis producers to provide health warnings on their products to inform consumers of the increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders.

In addition, retailers would have to provide leaflets to first-time buyers to educate them on the associated risks.

The guidance is based on a growing consensus among the scientific community that excessive cannabis use is linked to a significantly increased risk of developing many psychiatric disorders.

For example, daily users of high potency cannabis have been shown to be four-times more likely to develop schizophrenia, while 10% of adolescent schizophrenia cases have been linked to cannabis use.

“Legalisation is not the problem," said psychiatry professor at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza. "Rather, it’s the commercialisation of cannabis — the heavy marketing, which can be geared toward attracting young people to become customers for life, and the increase in THC from 4% on average up to between 20% and 35% in today’s varieties.”

There is mounting evidence to suggest that not only is this increase in THC causing the increased risk of psychiatric disorders, but also the reduction in levels of CBD in cannabis, which appears to mediate the negative effects of THC.

Anxiety remains high among those shielding during height of COVID pandemic

The clinically vulnerable are feeling more anxious about their health and safety since the first wave of the pandemic, despite vaccines and new viral treatments, according to a new study by the University of Bath.

While levels of anxiety for the general population decreased over time, for the clinically vulnerable it rose in line with the amount of time they spent shielding inside, which still continues to this day for many countries.

Despite the fact that from August 2021 the government no longer recommended shielding, by the end of 2021, 22% of those considered clinically vulnerable continued to shield and 68% took added precautions.

Dr Jo Daniels, a clinical psychologist from the University of Bath said:

“As Covid-19 slips from the front pages, those who have been shielding - or continue to shield - have become a forgotten group. But the pandemic has had profound effects on their lives with a heavy mental health burden.

“Our latest findings reveal that whereas health-related anxieties among the general population have fallen over the past two years, which is of course likely to be related to the vaccine roll-out, it appears that anxieties among the shielding populations have grown."

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