Revealed: Use of Edinburgh student counselling service has doubled in last five years

Nearly 3,000 students used the service in 2015/16

In figures obtained by The Tab through a Freedom of Information request, use of the university’s Student Counselling Service has more than doubled in the past five years. In the 2011/12 academic year, 1,372 students used the counselling service whereas in 2015/16 the figure shot up to 2,868. Just over eight per cent of students used the service in that year.

A breakdown of the numbers showed that the School of Literature, Language and Cultures, School of Social and Political Science and the Edinburgh College of Art were the schools that students using the Counselling Service more than any others.

EUSA Vice President for Welfare, Esther Dominy, commented on the statistics saying: “Demand for counselling services has been increasing at universities across the UK. This has been attributed to increased academic and financial pressures affecting students, but also efforts to reduce stigma which have meant many students are more comfortable reaching out for help.

“This has meant counselling services at many universities are struggling to cope with demand, particularly when their funding and resources have not increased alongside this, and this is a major issue for students where it impacts on waiting times and the level of support that services can offer.

“At the University of Edinburgh there has also been a big increase in the total number of students, which has contributed to the rise in demand for counselling. Students have been really clear that they want support services like counselling to be adequately funded, and have voted in support of this at our Student Council.

“We believe that increased demand for counselling as a result of students feeling more comfortable talking about their mental health is a positive change, and we would always encourage students to seek help if they are struggling. The Students’ Association’s Advice Place can advise around options for students looking to access counselling or other support, as well as support if this is affecting students’ academic performance.”