More than 45,000 people have used university counselling services in the last five years.

Statistics compiled by the Liberal Democrats showed that over the last five academic years, 45,724 students have sought help from university counselling services across Scotland.

The universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow reported the highest demand, with 8,105 and 9,308 students respectively seeking help over the period according to the figures, which were obtained under Freedom of Information.

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Across Scotland 9,382 students sought counselling from their university in 2016/17 – down from the total of 11,981 recorded the previous year, but up from 6,002 in 2012/13.

LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “We know that student counselling services in universities work incredibly hard but these figures show just how much demand there is.

“Looking after a student’s mental health while they are at university must be a priority and it is imperative the Scottish Government and universities across Scotland work together on this issue to make sure counselling services are properly staffed and resourced.”

A Universities Scotland spokesman said: “The wellbeing of our students is our top priority. We will continue to work with experts to provide the best service for our students.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We want all students and young people to have access to a consistent high level of mental health support.”