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Student union

Nearly two-in-five third-level students are experiencing serious levels of anxiety and depression as a result of stress, a new survey has revealed.

The newly published 'Report on Student Mental Health in Third-Level Education' was compiled by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), with the support of the HSE Mental Health and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Almost one-third of students have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, with the results painting a worrying picture of the extent of pressures and struggles on the shoulders of Irish students.

The statistics examined the occurrence of mental health distress and ill health among third-level students and the availability and use of mental health support service for young people.

Multiple factors influence depression and anxiety, and women were found to be more likely to suffer anxiety than men. Non-binary students had the highest levels of severe anxiety.

The survey, which was conducted in 2018, was open to students in every college, North and in the Republic, and most of the respondents were undergraduates aged between 18 and 24-years-old.

74 percent of participants were female, and experiences varied largely depending on the type of college attended, the area of study and whether it was inside or outside of Dublin.

One in five of those surveyed identified as LGBTQ+ and just over 1 percent identified as transgender. 38 percent are experiencing extremely severe levels of anxiety, alarmingly.

30 percent of people are reporting suffering from depression and 17 percent are experiencing stress. Almost one-third reported that they had a formal mental health difficulty which was diagnosed.

One of the most distressing points is that 21 percent of participants did not have someone to talk to about personal and emotional difficulties. Free on-campus counselling is imperative for students.

Students were found to use on and off-campus services to aid their mental health, and the student union made 35 percent of students aware of support services. 

The study had a large response of 3,340 students, but the findings may not be a full picture of the student population.

Employment during college was also found to affect students' ability to socialise with their classmates, and those involved in activities outside of coursework had improved mental health.

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick in Trinity College Dublin said students had provided a vast amount of vital data which would be used to improve mental health services at third level for everyone.

Numerous institutions were found to be problematic in terms of the quality of care offered to students, and a quality assurance tool must be made to ensure consistency between institutions.

Transitioning from secondary school to college is a huge step for all students, and comes at a time when they are most at risk of developing mental health difficulties.

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We are all well aware that the Dublin rental crisis has reached a critical point, with the cost of housing skyrocketing due to the lack of residential prospects in the capital. 

UCD's student union are using Snapchat to uncover how the rental crisis is impacting Irish students. 

'We're going to the worst places for rent in Dublin to expose how bad the situation is for students,' reads a statement on their Facebook page where the videos are being uploaded. 

'We want you to know what kinds of kips are out there and how landlords can try and pressure you into on-the-spot cash deposits.'

'Our goal is to pressure Govt for support for a joint project with Trinity & Daft.ie by bringing the horror stories to camera.'

Irish rent prices are at an all time high, according to a report from rental site Daft.ie.

The average price of rent nationwide now stands at €1131.00.

The average cost of renting a home has increased by €134.00 a month over the last year, according to The Irish Times. 

So far, the UCDSU have uncovered landlords demanding deposits and first months rent up front, cash in hand, a house where the kitchen utensils are kept in a bathroom cupboard, temporary camp beds, and a house in which three strangers are sharing a bedroom for €750.00 per month…each. 

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