We found out that The University of Birmingham only employs six qualified counsellors
All six do not work full time either
The Tab Birmingham's investigation into mental healthcare provision at Uob discovered that only six permanent, qualified mental health counsellors are employed for 30,000 students.
The Tab requested information from UoB regarding their employment of mental health workers. This revealed that the University employs one full time counsellor, two term time counsellors and three part-time counsellors.
UoB have hired two more counsellors until Easter, supposedly to help the current influx of students needing counselling. This however still leaves only eight consellors availible to support over 30,000 students.
In December, the Tab reported that the University had suspended counselling appointments due to high demand. Students have told us they’ve been waiting over two months for their appointment, by which time, their problem has either been resolved or they are ready to drop out.
The University ranked 28th out of 47 in the Tab's recent student satisfaction survey for mental health. The University has a duty of care for its students and is not meeting the demand for mental healthcare provision.
uob suspending their welfare and counselling sign ups 🙂 🙂 https://t.co/q2ejJyuOxx
— daisy (@daisybkr) December 12, 2017
UoB doesn’t actually care about student welfare. Shock lol.
— xo (@JustAddi) March 14, 2018
When asked to comment on these findings, Henny Green, the Guild's Welfare Officer, stated that the "number of counsellors we have is never going to be sufficent" as this was "a problem worldwide".
However, in comparison to other Universities, Henny claimed the University of Birmingham are doing well to maintain counselling availability for all. She said the best way to combat the issue was "encouraging self-help and resilience and also using CBT."
The University's responded to the Tab's enquiry, stating that, "to help meet rising demand we have recruited additional sessional counsellors and welfare practitioners."
However, while these welfare practitioners are permanent, they have not had the training to undertake one on one counselling.
The University has a number of other services which offer student support inlduing college welfare tutors, Nightline, and NHS mental health support services.
In a world where the taboo of mental health is slowly easing, UoB remains set in the past. With one in four students in the UK suffering from mental health issues, the University must do better to offer support to the students that they have promised a duty of care.