Warwick mental health services named ‘unfit’ over student loneliness concerns

A national study has found that student loneliness remains unchanged since the pandemic

The University of Warwick’s mental health services have been called “fundamentally unfit” after a recent study revealed concerns about  student loneliness.

A national student survey has found that there has been little change in student loneliness since the Covid-19 pandemic, The Boar reports.

The study, run by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), found that loneliness has not changed from both the previous academic year or the pandemic itself.

The findings state that 23 per cent of students said they felt lonely most or all of the time, and that 59 per cent felt lonely at least once a week.

This study comes as the university’s Student Union investigated Warwick’s wellbeing service.

The University of Warwick claim that this study emphasises the “challenge” of providing mental health support and services during the after-effects of the pandemic’s lockdown.

The university also claimed that they “remain committed to continuing to identify ways of improving and strengthening our processes”.

However, this was criticised by James Hart, the chair of Warwick SU’s Postgraduate Committee. Hart claimed that Warwick’s wellbeing strategy is “fundamentally unfit”, as reinforced by the national survey’s results.

Hart said: “The effects of two years isolation have far outlasted the lockdowns… with students leaving home and coming to university for the first time being particularly vulnerable to feeling cut off from those around them”.

Regarding concerns about student suicide, Hart claimed: “Frustratingly, the University’s infamous reticence to openly acknowledge or address its scandals – even those as devastating as the suicide crisis – makes it impossible to gauge the full extent of this catastrophe”.

Hart continued: “[Since 2017], the University has been actively reducing wellbeing support, firing the Expert Mental Health Coordinators, downsizing the Community Safety Team, and now attempting to get rid of the RLT”.

The University of Warwick responded by providing information about the mental health support that is already available for students. They cited the increase in funding over the past seven years: “In 2020/21, the university spent £3 million on wellbeing, an increase of 100% compared to 2015/16”.

The university also claimed that there has been an increase in the overall number of wellbeing support staff over the past five years – from 30 in 2017/18 to 51 as of now.

If you are experiencing any mental health issues or high levels of stress, it is so important to speak to someone. Mental health services at The University of Warwick can be accessed here. Alternatively contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, or Mind on 0300 123 3393.

The Tab Warwick had contacted University of Warwick for comment. 

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