We Need Counselling
The University's Student Counselling service provides invaluable support to students facing difficulties during their time at Strathclyde. However, since September 2015 they have been understaffed following the retirement of a long standing counsellor who University management have decided not to replace. The University currently employ the equivalent of 1.7 counsellors; this equates to 1 counsellor per 11,848 students. The ratio of students to counsellors recommended by the Association of University and College Counsellors is 1:3000. Strathclyde is currently operating with 25% provision of that recommendation.
The shortage of counsellors has resulted in the longest waiting list time ever seen at Student Counselling; 4 weeks before a first appointment and over 45 students not being seen by a counsellor before the University closed for the Christmas holidays. In the University’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan they list creating an ‘Outstanding Student Experience’ as their first Strategic Theme, saying that they wish to create ‘an outstanding and distinctive student experience with high quality student support throughout the learner journey’. USSA does not believe that cutting funding to student counselling shows any commitment to these goals or to the students who use this service or are currently trying to use this service.
The University also states that it wishes to ‘maintain and improve current levels of student retention, progression and satisfaction’, however they seem happy to limit the reach of a vital service which supports some of the University’s most vulnerable students. University management has said that they would like to find ways to support students who need lower level support. However, when USSA created, piloted and then agreed a handover of a Peer Support scheme to the University, they reneged on their promise to fund a Coordinator to run this. This project could been a stepping stone for students who weren’t sure who to talk to or just needed someone to listen yet the University allowed it to collapse.
By signing this petition you will be joining the voices telling the University that the current level of counsellors is not good enough, that students should not have to wait a month to speak to someone professional about their problems if they are unable to make the new drop-in sessions (which have been introduced to try to keep up with demand) and that this lack of commitment to this important service does not show any understanding or willingness to support students throughout their learner journey at Strathclyde.
USSA is asking the University to:
1: Ensure that there is increased counselling support for students, with full time year round counselling staff and a Mental Health & Wellbeing Coordinator.
2: Ensure that a member of staff is responsible for the on-going provision of mental health training for all staff.
For more information or to get more involved please contact us.