The number of students declaring mental health problems when they arrive at university has increased by 73 per cent in the past four years, new figures show.

Some 7,375 freshers told their new university that they had a mental health issue in the 2014/15 academic year, according to a Freedom of Information request published by The Times.

This rose to 12,773 first year students in the 2017/18 academic year.

During this time period, the number of students declaring a mental health problem more than doubled at 23 of the 60 universities which responded to the request.

We launched our university and colleges campaign in October, to help raise awareness about the importance and benefits of embedded counselling services within universities and colleges.

We're also aiming to influence the development of the University Mental Health Charter, being led by Student Minds, through the upcoming roadshow events and consultation.

Jo Holmes, BACP’s children, young people and families lead, said: “These new figures come as no surprise. We know university counselling services are in huge demand.

Professionally-trained counsellors

“This is why it’s vital universities invest in professionally-trained counsellors working in embedded counselling services to ensure their students have access to the right support, at the right time.”

“Counselling services have an important role to play as part of an integrated support network for students, in addressing the issues students face. This is not just about mental health problems, but about the everyday stress and pressure that people face while studying for a degree.

“We want our young people to fulfil their potential and make the most of the opportunities that universities offer. The correct mental health support must be in place within universities to ensure this can happen.”

Only students who disclose a mental health condition and no other disability were included in many universities’ responses because of how the information is recorded, The Times said.

Universities did not require any medical evidence of the conditions students declared.

Read more about our universities and colleges campaign.