Posted on Leave a comment

The Hidden Mental Health Pandemic: Students

ONE student dies of suicide every FOUR days.

This is just one of many statistics collected since the pandemic began. An example of this is a young girl named Natasha Abrahart, a second-year student at Bristol University who sadly died in April 2019. You can read more about her story over at the BBC website.


Over the past decade, mental health issues in students have increased by over 450%, according to UCAS. As if that wasn’t bad enough, 83% of students claimed that COVID-19 and the pandemic worsened their mental health (Young Minds, 2022). 

The ONS found 319 students who died by suicide in the three years to July 2020. Of these students, 202 (63%) were male and 117 (37%) were female. The median age at death was just 22. Male first-year undergraduate students had a significantly higher suicide rate compared with those studying in other years.


5 barriers stop people from seeking help with their mental health:

  1. They dislike talking about feelings, emotions, and thoughts. 
  2. They want to solve the problem on their own
  3. Not being able to afford the financial costs involved
  4. Fear of being put in hospital against their will
  5. Concern about the treatments available (e.g medication side effects)


Bibliotherapy is a fantastic, favoured solution to helping those who struggle to seek help with their mental health. Not only is it an instantly accessible and affordable form of recovery, but it also allows you to recover at your own pace without having to talk about feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Bibliotherapy is also great for people that are concerned with medicinal and talking therapy routes, or have tried them and felt as though it didn’t suit them. 

There are many great benefits to bibliotherapy that include normalising your condition through reading someone’s lived experience, by doing this you are also subconsciously going through the process of recovery by reading someone else’s story. Not only do our brains change on a structural level when we process stories, but research has also found that when we read, we feel the emotions, connect to the thoughts and align with the beliefs of characters as if they are our thoughts, and feelings and beliefs. Researchers call this ‘experience-taking’


So, calling all student services staff! Would you like to know more about bibliotherapy and how it can assist your students in bettering their lives and their mental health? You can find out more by getting in touch and/or attending our online student workshop in September 2022 (dates to be confirmed). 
Please reach out to [email protected] to discuss TriggerHub bibliotherapy hubs and how they can have an impact on your students, and help fight the hidden pandemic.

Leave a Reply