THE number of students at York St John University who have sought mental health support has rocketed by 75 per cent in five years.

However, the university’s budget for supporting students with their mental health only rose by 13 per cent in the same period.

Figures revealed today show that 360 people asked the university for help in 2012/2013, compared to 630 in 2016/2017, but the budget only increased from £160,757 to £180,990 in that period.

The university has increased its full-time mental health support staff from 3.2 positions to 5.2 since 2012.

A university spokeswoman said that the budget had since increased to £193,125 - up 20 per cent from 2012/2013.

Nick Streatfield, head of student services at York St John, said: “In the last six years, we have invested significantly in staffing our multi-disciplinary Wellbeing Team of counsellors, mental health advisers and welfare advisers to help support the increase in students accessing our mental health services.

“Although it is not our role to replicate mental health support that should be provided by the NHS, our daily wellbeing drop in service means we are able offer our students assessment by a psychological professional the same or next day to help them thrive at university.”

The figures also showed the University of York had increased its mental health support counsellors from three to 11 since 2012, and increased its mental health support budget by 51 per cent - from £292,000 to £441,000.

A total of 1,685 students sought help in 2017, but faced an average waiting time of between 14 and 21 days.

A University of York spokesman said: “Our Open Door Team provides emotional and psychological support for students alongside a number of other support structures. These include our College System, the Chaplaincy team, Student Unions and initiatives such as Nightline and Night Safe. Students are also able to access support online.

“If a student were to present themselves to our services suggesting that they were struggling they would be offered the appropriate support. In circumstances when there is an urgent need this would be done immediately. A duty practitioner is available in order to provide an appropriate response to urgent cases.

“As an academic community we are not in a position to replace external specialist services, but we have a good relationship with our NHS partners and we will continue to work closely with them and our students to provide the appropriate help and support.”