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July 23, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Over Half of Us Want to Drop Out

A staggering 56% of respondents considered dropping out of university, according to a recent study released by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Association (NZUSA). The most common reasons for wanting to drop out were living with mental health issues, loneliness, feeling overwhelmed, a fear of failure, and academic pressure.
The Kei Te Pai? Report surveyed 1,762 students about their lived experiences in regard to mental health. It’s the first report of its kind.
The survey asked questions about students’ education, living situation, relationship status, and their level of psychological distress. In particular, the survey asked about personal experience with mental health services at tertiary institutions and their mental health history.

Feelings of isolation were highlighted as the critical factor contributing to students’ mental health issues.
“[I have] no community that I can rely on and feel a part of, [which is] the greatest cause of my anxiety and depression,” said one respondent.
NZUSA President Jonathan Gee said “the culture of tertiary education has become a highly individualised experience, and seen as a means to an end rather than an end in itself”.

VUWSA President Marlon Drake supports the NZUSA’s research on mental health issues but questions whether practical steps will be taken.
“It’s widely agreed that we need to change the way we think about mental health, and it’s great that there is strategic work happening, but the fact is we have students who need access to these services now,” said Marlon.
NZUSA called on the Government to act on its commitment to institute free counselling for under-25s. In response to the call, Marlon said, “I’m not convinced that $10.5 million over three years to pilot free counselling for under 25s is a sufficient response to the immediate need for resources, especially when we already have services on campus that could utilize public funding in the meantime”.

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