Exeter is the only UK uni to reduce its mental health support staff in the last year

The support staff have dropped from 42 to 39

The University of Exeter is the only UK uni with less mental health support staff this academic year than last year.

Figures obtained by The Tab reveal 39 wellbeing and mental health support staff are working at the uni this year, compared with 42 last year.

The Tab asked 64 UK universities about their mental health support staff. Of those who responded, Exeter is the only one to employ less mental health support staff this academic year than last year.

The reductions have seen the number of mental health mentors fall from 11 to nine, and the number of practitioners fall from 19 to 18. However, a spokesperson for the university said: “The staffing levels based on ‘full-time equivalent’ was the same for both years”.

Exeter students can also wait almost two weeks for mental health support once they have requested it.

All students who request support from the university’s Wellbeing Services are “initially referred for a Telephone Referral Appointment (TRA) with a Qualified Practitioner to discuss their condition and the most appropriate type of support for the student.” This happens “within three working days”.

After this, students can wait “7-10 days after the TRA” before their next appointment. The university said: “Students often choose to wait longer than the next available appointment, if they have busy timetables and other commitments, which can increase our average waiting time for ongoing therapy.”

A spokesperson for the University of Exeter said:  “The staffing levels based on ‘full-time equivalent’ (fte) was the same for both years and we have recently recruited an additional three mentors and currently advertising for a further three posts.

“Additionally, in the wider Wellbeing service there are now 64 staff or 49.28fte this year compared to 52 staff or 40.81fte last year.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably, for men aged 15 to 35) on 0800 58 58 58.

The Tab’s You Matter campaign is putting a focus on student mental health right now. If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s difficulties with getting uni support, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

You matter.

Read more from The Tab’s You Matter campaign:

I tried to book uni counselling for a week but was told ‘come back tomorrow’ every day

Adults’ response to student mental health shows how out of touch they are

I’d rather drop out of university than have to self-isolate in halls again