Clear rise in counselling use on campus

From 2005 to the present, the University has seen a huge increase in the number of students using its counselling support service.

From the 2005/06 academic year to the end of the 2010/11 academic year, the number of students using the face-to-face counselling service increased from 518 to 771. This figure does not include the number of people using the email service, or who take part in group counselling sessions.

The University’s Press Officer Peter Dunn suggests that the figures are due to an increase in the number of students attending Warwick, which rise year on year.

Other possible explanations for this are the increase in press attention and publicity that mental health is receiving from celebrity figures such as Steven Fry endorsing Nightline services, and J.K Rowling speaking out about her experiences with depression.

Izzy John, the Welfare Officer for Warwick SU noted the improved advertising and promotion of the services around campus, and that more students are now aware that the service exists.

However, with the increase in fees to £9000 next year, some have cited that financial pressures may result in increased numbers of students suffering from poor mental health.

Students who have used the counselling service have mixed responses about it, although most highly commend the service. A postgraduate student commented: “I found that they responded very quickly to my urgent needs and helped me through a very difficult time.”

One PPE student said that they felt that there were some key issues with the email service. “The main problem is that they only respond on Mondays. So I fired off an email to them – but despite being so stressed out I could hardly leave the house, I had to wait a week before I got anything at all back.”

However, they did feel that the service was reliable and did make an effort to try and help students. “They always say when they will reply and whether there are weeks when they’re not going to. They also use a lot of different techniques to try and help you.”

Another student, has mixed experiences with the service. “Gaining access to a counsellor took far too long – several weeks. When I did eventually get an appointment, the counsellor was friendly and open but I didn’t feel they provided me with many solutions and ended my sessions without any sort of resolution.”

The University currently has two mental health coordinators who work with students to give advice, support and information to students struggling with mental health issues.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, the University, along with Warwick Students’ Union, signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge, which is a public display of commitment to combating mental health discrimination in the workplace.

John added that she hopes it will have a knock on effect for students: “If staff can get educated on it, then students can get better support at the same time. We have to talk about it at all levels. There’s no reason why we can’t have a multi-lateral approach.”

Other services that are available for students who may be struggling include Nightline, a peer to peer support and listening service. open from 9pm until 9am which provides phone, email and drop-in listening, as well as giving out information and condoms. More information about the counselling service, Nightline and other SU and University support services can be found online.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.