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Mental Health Drop Out: King’s Cancels Welfare Drop-In Sessions

King’s College London Student Services cancels welfare drop-in sessions across all campuses. With a nationwide mental health crisis, is King’s meeting students’ needs sufficiently?

Addressing a range of concerns from Immigration to Housing, mental health drop-in consultations provided flexible arrangements for students and helped decongest King’s Counselling services. However, despite a surge in demand and allegedly 10-week waiting lists, the College has decided to scrap these sessions.

When Roar went to Student Services to investigate, three people seeking drop-in sessions were already queueing with no appointments being given.

King’s students also receive mental health from student societies, such as ThinkMental. With the cancellation of drop-in sessions, some of these societies may find themselves taking on the extra demand.

One King’s student, Jordan, told Roar about her experiences seeking help after struggling to adjust to university life: “my personal tutor just pointed me toward counselling in Student Support, which is obviously overwhelmed.”

The Big Picture

As first-year students report mental illnesses five times more often than ten years ago, mental health services at the university are experiencing a nationwide crisis. Institutions like the University of Birmingham have been criticised for having only six counsellors for 30,000 students after two suicides in 1 year. Eleanor Watson, a former undergraduate who dropped out of university last year, lists the lack of support as the main reason why she left her studies: “If I had the right support system, I am almost positive I would have been able to continue my studies”.

The King’s Experience

  • In the 2018 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, King’s ranked above many London universities at 60th. Assessment is based on performance in a range of issues from workload, student welfare, how universities cater for personal requirements and campus environment.
  • The College spends an average of £37 on each student for mental health services.

“KCL aspires to be one of the best universities in the UK for mental health provision and I think this is admirable”, stated Matt Peniket, head of ThinkMental.

After cancelling drop-in counselling sessions, King’s’ position in this crisis remains to be seen.

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