A survey of 3,000 third level students has found significant numbers are suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The 'National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level' will be launched by the Union of Students in Ireland at Trinity College later today.

It is the first time the USI has commissioned such a survey.

It was prompted by what it described as a lack of data regarding mental health amongst students at third level.

Funded by the HSE, the study found that 38% of students say they are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety, while 30% reported symptoms of depression.

Almost a third of the 3,000 students said that they have been diagnosed with mental health difficulties at some point in their lives.

The USI has called for more investment in mental health services, both on and off college campuses.

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It says inconsistencies exist depending on which college a person attends, with some students reporting waiting lists for an on-campus counselling session of up to seven weeks.

USI Vice-President for Welfare Roisin O'Donovan said the figures show that students are under significant stress in college.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said: "They're quite shocking and they're quite sad figures I think as well, because obviously behind each and every one of those statistics it's a student.

"It's a shame that it's kind of gotten to that point as well. Students are under so much stress at the moment in Third Level education."

Ms O'Donovan said students who reported not having stable accommodation had the most severe anxiety, depression and stress.

"I think that's a really really big concern, and I'm really not surprised about those stats, because the accommodation situation we're in at the moment, students just can't find accommodation that is affordable.

"Students are having to either have full-time or part time jobs within their courses, and then they can't really experience the true student experience I suppose. They're having to not attend lectures, not fulfil their course as much as they'd like to. And then sometimes having to repeat or maybe drop out."