King’s College London Student Services cancelsÂ welfare drop-in sessions across all campuses. WithÂ 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 consultationsÂ provided flexible arrangements for students andÂ helped decongest King’s Counselling services. However, despite a surge in demand and allegedly 10-week waiting lists, the College has decided toÂ 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.Â With the cancellation ofÂ 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 healthÂ services at the university are experiencing aÂ 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 theÂ 2018Â Times Higher EducationÂ Student Experience Survey, King’s ranked above many London universities at 60th.Â Assessment is based onÂ performance in a range of issues from workload, student welfare, how universities cater for personal requirements and campus environment.
- The CollegeÂ spends an average of Â£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.