Mental Health Survey: Uni Response

The full statement from the University and Colleges in response to findings published from The Tab’s Mental Health Survey.

anxiety counselling depression DoS mark phippen mental health mental illness paul hartle secretary senior tutor survey tim holt tutor ucs university

The following is a University response, quoted in full and unedited, to Tim Squirrell’s reflections on the results of The Tab’s Mental Health Survey. You can view that article here.

A response from the University and Colleges

11 June 2013

Mental health and depression are significant issues within any student body, as the recent NUS national survey has shown, and the University of Cambridge and its colleges take them very seriously.

Collegiate Cambridge provides a level of support both to mitigate stress and tackle depression that is unparalleled in most other universities.

The University Counselling Service alone provides more counsellors per head of student population than any other UK university. The UCS, Tutors, College counsellors, College nurses and chaplains – assisted by the wider staff base – supplement the support available to students from the NHS and other bodies. Our pastoral staff are highly dedicated and committed to student welfare. Many of them are health professionals.

That the system is highly effective is shown by Cambridge having a student drop-out rate that is among the very lowest in the world: 1.3%.

However well qualified and experienced a counsellor may be, for the counselling relationship to prove useful the student needs to feel comfortable working with that person.  Partly for this reason, we are fortunate that there is a range of professionals available both within the Colleges and the UCS, which students can choose to approach.

The survey upon which this article is apparently based is informal, unscientific and statistically suspect. Drawing conclusions based upon anecdotal response and/or small data-samples is irresponsible and problematic. The article is at points self-contradictory.

We would be very disappointed and concerned if this flawed article misled students needing and seeking help into not asking for it.  The Collegiate University is always keen to improve the support it provides for students where it reasonably can.

To that end we would be happy to talk to student representatives about concerns that they believe may arise from this survey.

Paul Hartle, Secretary, Senior Tutors Committee

Mark Phippen, Head of the University Counselling Service