Counselling Services and Mental Health Status of Nigerian University Students

Gbone Adunola Okunaiya, Comfort O Omovre

Abstract


Attempts and incidences of suicide among undergraduates in Nigerian universities has become disturbingly high in recent times, inviting concerns about the mental health status of the students and the perception of roles of guidance and counselling (G&C) services institutions. This study assessed accessibility to G&C services and mental health status of Nigerian University students. A cross-sectional survey involving a random sample of 346 students, yielding a response rate of 91.5% was conducted. A self-developed structured questionnaire adapted from related studies was used for data collection. Data was summarized using descriptive statistics of frequencies, percentages and means. There was high awareness (86.1%), low utilization (28%) of G&C services and high mental health awareness (89.6%) among the respondents. 48.3% of the respondents were secretive about mental health status and 67.6% of them wouldn’t confide in a close-knit friend. 62.1% and 60.7% had ever felt depressed and hopelessness. The respondents considered academic work as strenuous (83.0%) and that bad grades had devastating impact (88.4%). Respondents affirmed that G&C would help reduce mental illnesses (93.4%) and improve academic performance (69.9%). Nigerian undergraduates has high awareness but low utilization of G&C services. Despite their high mental awareness rate, they also have high risk of mental health problems, of which academic stressors may be a contributor. Majority of the students believe that G&C services may mediate mental illness and improve academic performance. It is recommended that Universities should reposition G&C services in their institutions to help mitigate the spate of mental illness and suicide among students.

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