More than 50 % of university students needed psychological support during the last four-month period

Jul 10, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Ministry of Universities publishes the results of the study on mental health among students at Spanish universities, launched in March 2022 together with the Ministry of Health with the aim of diagnosing the situation in this area and stimulating university policies that benefit the well-being of students.

Psychological support

TDB keeps you informed. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

The Ministry of Universities has published the results of the study on “Mental health among students at Spanish universities”, launched together with the Ministry of Health in March 2022 to diagnose the mental health of university students and stimulate university policies that benefit the well-being of university students.

According to the main results of the study, more than 50% of students have perceived the need for psychological support for recent mental health problems during the last four-month period and more than 50% have ever consulted a health professional for a mental health problem. In addition, the prevalence of moderate or severe anxiety is reported by approximately one in two students and one in five students report having had suicidal thoughts in the previous two weeks.

The study also shows that female students had a higher percentage of depressive symptoms, anxiety and clinical or severe insomnia and a lower percentage of risky alcohol consumption compared to male students. Finally, 17 % stated that they had been prescribed tranquillisers, anxiolytics, antidepressants or hypnotics by a medical professional in the previous four-month period.

Development of the study
The mental health of young university students has become an issue of growing concern. In recent years, low levels of emotional well-being have been identified in some sectors of the population, especially aggravated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with worrying implications for public health. The global health crisis has highlighted the importance of addressing mental health issues in the university population, especially with regard to socialisation and personal and collective growth.

In March 2022, the Ministries of Universities and Health established an internal working group in which representatives of CRUE Spanish Universities and the Spanish Council of University Students took part, with the aim of carrying out a detailed diagnosis of the mental health situation of university students in Spain. This study was carried out in collaboration with the Centro de Salud Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental and the Aplica Cooperative, with the aim of obtaining an exhaustive picture of this group.

Study on “Mental health among students at Spanish universities” Study on “Mental health among students at Spanish universities”.

Two analyses have been carried out within the study, one quantitative and the other qualitative. On the one hand, the aim of the quantitative analysis is to describe the prevalence of mental health problems among students at Spanish public and private universities, in order to obtain real global data on the current situation.

To this end, two nationwide surveys were carried out in two different periods of the academic calendar. Phase I was conducted from 2 November to 14 December 2022, while phase II was carried out from 12 April to 22 May 2023. In these two surveys, variables of interest (demographic, social isolation, study-related, subjective reasons for distress, etc.) have been included through the implementation of questionnaires for screening symptoms of anxiety and depression, alcohol and other substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, among others.

On the other hand, the qualitative study aimed to identify the resources that contribute to improving students’ capacities for good health and well-being, as well as to show the barriers that limit these capacities and the strategies for improving emotional well-being among university students.

The study includes a total of 86 proposals for improving emotional well-being made by the student body, including the promotion of meeting spaces between students and teaching staff and improving the dissemination of specific mental health support services.

It is important to remember that mental health is a fundamental human right and that all people, regardless of their age or social status, have the right to adequate care and protection. Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of the new Organic Law of the University System (LOSU), universities must have prevention and psycho-pedagogical counselling and wellbeing services on campus.