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Demand on University of Wolverhampton's mental health services rises

By Harriet Evans | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

The demand on mental health services at the University of Wolverhampton has increased in the last five years, figures have shown.

University of Wolverhampton's main Wolverhampton campus

The average waiting time for students to access the services has risen from 4.39 days in 2014/15 to between six to eight weeks in 2018/19.

The university has said that they are currently working to reduce the waiting times for students by improving the support options available.

Fiona Parsons, director of student and academic services, said: "Students who are in crisis or have acute problems are seen straight away and support is provided promptly.

"The waiting times have now reduced significantly, and we have also introduced a three-step guide for staff responding to a student in distress so they can escalate it appropriately.

"Alongside this, we have increased the number of staff in this area and have invested in online tools for self-help support.

The data also showed that 608 students have used the university's counselling and wellbeing service in 2018/19, which has risen from 490 in 2014/15, however this is said to be due to an increased awareness of mental health services and what help is available for students.

Ms Parsons added: “We have seen an increase in the number of students coming forward to access mental health and wellbeing support at the University.

"There is increased awareness that mental health issues can affect anyone at any point in their lives which is a positive step forward.

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"Feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable and upset at times is perfectly normal and more students feel able to acknowledge that and access the support we have available.

“We are also aware that the transition to university is exciting and liberating – but it can also be stressful for some. In the past people may have suffered in silence but more are coming forward for help."

In an effort to improve their mental health provisions, the university has increased its spending on mental health services by approximately £34,000 from 2013 to 2018, figures show.

Ms Parsons said: "The increase in funding is being spent on the increased number of students we are supporting, and this is a positive change – we are keen to see more students in need coming forward.

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“This all sits alongside the university’s award-winning Three Minutes to Save a Life programme, developed in collaboration with Connecting with People.

"This involves training staff members including those within security, care taking, accommodation and academics, as well as students themselves, to recognise early warning signs in at-risk students and how they can escalate concerns proportionately and compassionately.

“The university is committed to supporting our students and we would urge anyone who needs support to visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/needhelpnow for advice.”

The Freedom of Information request was submitted by Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats.

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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