We asked Cov students what it’s really like to use the mental health services
We found exactly what happens
Mental health continues to be a subject that starts up important conversation and yet still remains taboo.
A recent report by The Tab showed the unis that don't know how many of their students have died by suicide proving that mental health at unis needs to be taken more seriously.
In a bid to combat this, we asked three Coventry Uni students what it's really like to use the mental health services at uni to answer all the questions you might have. They each shared their stories and told us the process that you go through when using the services.
1. Try and book an online counselling appointment first
For students who feel they may need counselling, it's going to be a bit of a wait. One student told The Coventry Tab: “If you need counselling, which I did, they refer you to an online application process and then they review that and get back to you, which allows you to book appointments online”.
The waiting list can sometimes be up to three weeks as there aren't enough counsellors to handle the volume of students asking for an appointment.
2. You need to know what to ask for
“I wanted talking therapy so I asked for that, but that was only once I had one session of weird CBT where she handed me out a load of written materials to read. I think it's important to know that when you go in for counselling, or to get meds – ask for what you want. If you don't know what you want, ask for the options available. Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed, from someone that has been with four different therapists in her life I can tell you that they really do not judge”.
3. Fill out the form to register and then book your visit
According to interviewee's it's not that easy to book an appointment. They said: “Everything is pretty much booked and you can’t make appointments above 2 weeks into the future – they literally recommend that you keep checking for spaces hourly in the day – who has the time for that?”
4. If you can't wait that long, maybe try therapy again
All students interviewed agreed that the first step that you can access the easiest is a therapist where you can be open and talk with: “They are very good listeners. They are also very understanding. They never made me feel uncomfortable and that helped me open up more. According to my issue, the woman I talked to referred me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation as well as a GP for medicines to help me sleep or for my anxiety”.
5. Try looking for alternative options
After that, they are recommending you to have a counselling which is hard to wait for.
“There are four counsellors and they are all part time, so essentially you have to be lucky. If you think about the amount of students there are in Coventry compared to the counsellors, it’s ridiculous.
"So I did what I could and just got a well-being officer to talk to, who told me I needed counselling, and although she was lovely, couldn’t offer me the help a counsellor could. She was the next step, to basically hear things out and see where I needed to go with things".
What they concluded:
One student said: "It’s essentially a ridiculous service and there really needs to be more money put into it!”
Another student added: “You can't really turn up in an emergency and from what I remember you need to book 3 weeks in advance when the appointments become available, or something like that – maybe that appointments are only available for up to three weeks in the future. Either way this makes it hard and it put off my friend who went for her first appointment but found it too confusing and stressful to book her second”.
Finally, a third student concluded: “I feel like the process could be made easier because it's hard enough for people to seek help, especially if you have anxiety literally anything can put you off going back for more help”.
One student even told us: "Coventry is doing what it can with an underfunded mental health department. Maybe if we spent a little less on building a billion blocks of student accommodation and a little more on this, it could be even better".
If you need help, please reach out. The Health and Wellbeing services can be found here.
You can also contact Samaritans on 116 123 at anytime. Or 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.