UWE students are divided over the mental health services provided by the university.
When asked on social media, students were split about the UWE Wellbeing Service, with some describing it as helpful and friendly while others said it was unhelpful and lacked compassion.
The Wellbeing Service says on its website: “We offer individual sessions, online and telephone counselling to help support you during your time at UWE Bristol.”
The survey comes after UWE Nightline, an out-of-hours student support service, was suspended.
The university said the service, which was led by the Students’ Union, was “temporarily suspended” and they are now reviewing it to reintroduce something “permanent, effective and consistently available”.
One in six 17 to 19-year-olds were found to have a mental disorder in 2017. See all the findings in the new #MentalHealth of Children and Young People in England: https://t.co/uLsN7d0riy #MHData pic.twitter.com/aZVG5VNcJd
— NHS Digital (@NHSDigital) November 22, 2018
One student heaped the praise on the UWE Wellbeing Service: “I used the UWE wellbeing service when I was first suffering with depression (I didn’t know it at the time), and it was great.
“My counsellor was so lovely and so understanding. She helped me so much in helping me realise that I have depression, and offered lots of different options for support. Owe the wellbeing team big time”
Another student was similarly praiseworthy: “It was really helpful and I don’t think I had any serious deep underlying issue but I used them for one session just to go and vent and get stuff off my chest.
“It was so nice to have someone who I didn’t know personally, and had no preconceived judgements and I knew I never had to see again if I didn’t want to, take time to listen to my stresses.”
However, another student was critical of the Wellbeing Service: “I used the wellbeing service when I was struggling with my depression at the end of first year. I was told that I was just a bit upset and that I’ll get over it. That maybe I should look at my diet because that might ‘perk’ me up.
“It put me off getting for help with my mental health completely ever since and that was 2 and a half years ago.”
Similarly, another student was unhappy with the support they received, saying that they felt unwelcome: “It sort of felt like I was plopped in a room and had loads of information thrown at me that I could have just found on my own.
“I was a bit reluctant to return because I didn’t feel like my needs were listened to, and like they were just trying to be rid of me because I didn’t need their specific help.”
The survey was conducted after UWE was accused of lying last week, by the Bristol Post, about their knowledge of the number of student suicides.
This weekend’s @BristolLive front:
— Chris Kelly (@westdigitaled) November 23, 2018
The university has refuted all claims of wrongdoing, saying: “We wholly dispute the misleading and inaccurate Bristol Post article regarding the University’s mental health and wellbeing services.
“The article suggests we are a university that is not investing sufficiently in mental health support for its students, does not care about its students, and has withheld information about the number of suicides among its students. This is not true.”