Architecture Great Britain
Nearly one in three women in the survey reported receiving mental health treatment over issues directly related to their course. Photograph: Alamy
More than a quarter of architecture students in the UK are receiving or have received medical help for mental health problems related to their course. Another quarter feel they may have to seek help in future.
Anxiety over the student debts accrued during the seven-year course, and workloads that frequently require all-nighters, were the primary sources of stress identified by undergraduates.
Poor-value university courses, architectural practices demanding they work for free and sexual and racial discrimination were the other issues highlighted by respondents to the survey carried out by the Architects’ Journal.
More female students reported seeking medical advice for mental health than male students. Nearly one in three women in the survey, 29%, reported receiving mental health treatment over issues directly related to their course, compared with 23% of men.
Nearly 90% of the 447 respondents said they had had to work through the night at some point. Almost one-third said they have to do it regularly.
Two-thirds of undergraduates said their debt at the end of their course would be £30, 000 or above. Despite that, almost a third said they had been asked to work in practice for free.
Students taking part in the survey reported seeing friends suffering from hair loss as a result of stress. One respondent reported that two course mates had committed suicide, though the Architectural Journal was unable to verify that report. Another student wrote: “I feel so emotionally drained, without any confidence in my ability.” Another said: “A culture of suffering for your art is promoted within education.”
Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor at the University of Buckingham and a mental-health campaigner, said: “Britain has a near epidemic of mental health problems among its students. Those studying architecture appear to be under added burdens, emanating perhaps from the very length of the course and time taken before earning a proper income.
“Much could be done to rethink the courses so they align with the architectural education needs of the future rather than the dictates of the architectural big cheeses of the past.”Almost a third of architecture students in the survey said they had been asked to work in practice for free. Photograph: Alamy