Students in distress

May 15, 1998

IDENTIFYING vulnerable students to prevent suicides would be difficult to translate into practice given the unwillingness of individuals to be singled out as suffering from mental health problems (THES, May 1).

Our research on responses to students' mental health needs indicates that support systems need strengthening to include a clearer definition of the role of personal tutors and greater accessibility to specialist help in the form of counselling and mental health services.

The interest in student suicide directs attention to student distress. However, as with tragedies in the community, such cases are the extreme point on a continuum of mental health problems. Institutions need to respond to a range of needs and to give ongoing support as well as ensuring an appropriate response to crises.

Nicky Stanley and Jill Menthorpe, University of Hull

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