Fund the Student Counselling Service

Passed by the Student Council of 31 March 2016

 

What will we do?

 

1. EUSA will lobby the University to increase funding to the Student Counselling Service, pushing for additional counsellors and space in order to improve the support offered to students.

2. EUSA will support the campaign and petition “Edinburgh University: Fund the Student Counselling Service”, and use its own resources and social media presence to promote this.

 

What is the background to this?

 

1. Over the last year, the University’s Student Counselling Service has seen a 45% increase in demand, with waiting times currently at around 7 weeks.

2. To cope with increased demand, the number of counselling sessions offered to students has been reduced from 6 to 4, with an exception for students considered to be “at risk”, who will continue to receive up to 6 sessions.

3. As a result, students whose mental health is suffering cannot access the help they need at the time they need it, often reaching the point of crisis before counselling is available.

4. Nationally, waiting times for NHS mental health services are in excess of the 18 week target set by the Scottish Government, meaning students are often unable to access other forms of counselling for several months.

5. University study has the potential to affect students’ mental health, with a report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England* (HEFCE) citing “increased academic and financial pressures which lead to more mental health issues emerging during the time at university.”

What beliefs motivate the actions you propose?

 

1. Resources for the Counselling Service currently fall far short of what is necessary; a waiting time of 7 weeks and a cap at 4 sessions are not good enough.

2. The University must take responsibility for the welfare of its students; a fully resourced Counselling Service is essential to ensure students are supported while they study.

3. Students should not have to wait weeks in crisis before they are able to access help; students must be able to access the Counselling Service if and when they need to

Submitted with 20 student signatures