Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity working to improve university communities to make sure that no student is held back by their mental health. Every year, on University Mental Health Day, (9 March), Student Minds works with UMHAN, the University Mental Health Advisors Network, to change the future of student mental health.

With academic pressure, money worries and loneliness; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at university. There is an increasing number of students accessing support services, experiencing distress and mental illness, having to leave university due to mental health difficulties, and a tragic number of student deaths by suicide.

Young Adult Carers and University Life
For young adult carers, university life is an even bigger challenge. Young adult carers are young people aged 16–25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction. On top of their studies, (and maybe a part time job), a young carer may do practical tasks such as housework, practical and personal care, emotional support and help with medication.

Their choice of university may have been governed so that they are close their family home to continue their caring role and can have a significant impact on their mental health.

According to The Carers Trust, being a young adult carer can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence – over 45% reported a mental health problem.

Many struggle to manage their education, working life and caring role which can cause pressure and stress.

29% had dropped out of college/university because of their caring role. This is four times greater than the national average for degree courses.

University Mental Health Advisors Network are challenging the health sector, higher education sector and government to make student mental health a priority, so that students can succeed and thrive.

At Forward Carers, we would like to encourage universities in the UK to firstly, recognise and support students who are also Carers and secondly to take measures to become a Carer Friendly University. Aston University has taken steps to become carer friendly and is in the process of undertaking carer aware training delivered by our trusted partner RightTrack Learning.

Take steps to support young adult carers and encourage your university to sign up to our carer aware training.