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Posted 17.09.19

Bucking the national trend – No waiting lists for counselling services at Plymouth College of Art

By Phillip Buchan
This week The Guardian reported that “Students with mental health problems are being forced to wait up to 12 weeks for help from their university”, with the worst recorded wait to begin counselling being as long as 84 days.

We are proud that at Plymouth College of Art there are no waiting lists for counselling services. We also have no limit on the number of counselling sessions offered to each student, and use a system where students can self-refer and directly book a slot that suits them to meet up with one of our counsellors. 

Steve Saxby, our Mental Health Advisor, said: “We believe that a little help and support too soon is better than a lot too late. Rather than making students wait twelve weeks to see a counsellor and talk about a crisis they’re going through today, we speak to them today. We’ve set up a system that allows students to see when all of our counsellors are available, allowing them to book onto a convenient session, which leads to fewer cancellations and allows our counsellors to use their time to see more students.

“We have a great team of enthusiastic and experienced counsellors who have embraced this new technique, attending all available training and studying in their free time. Their willingness to be flexible and learn new skills has made this work.

“A big part of our focus is obviously helping students to complete their education safely and happily. If you come to us experiencing anxiety over deadlines, for example, our approach is to help you relieve that anxiety and get in a better frame of mind to tackle those deadlines. We do encourage students to access the statutory services available in the UK, but most importantly, we’re here to support students on a day-to-day basis, alongside those other services.”

"Rather than making students wait twelve weeks to see a counsellor and talk about a crisis they’re going through today, we speak to them today."

– Steve Saxby, Mental Health Advisor

Speaking to The Guardian, Tom Madders, Campaigns Director at the charity YoungMinds, said: “It is very worrying that there is considerable variation in the level of mental health support offered at universities around the country. Counselling for students should not be a postcode lottery.

“Many young people start university expecting to have the time of their lives. But for some it can be a stressful experience: moving away from home, financial difficulties, problems with your course, making new friends and changes to your support network can all pile on the pressure.”

Our Student Support services offer advice and guidance in relation to: Finance, general health and wellbeing (including support with stress and anxiety, accessing local NHS/specialist and online wellbeing tools), mindfulness, acupuncture, disAbility support, and counselling.

The hub for Student Support at Plymouth College of Art, situated centrally in our main Tavistock Place campus, is open for drop-ins weekdays between 8:30am and 5pm during term time, and between 8:30am and 4:30pm outside of term time.

Thinking about creative study? It's not too late to join us. We have a limited number of places available to begin undergraduate study this year and can support you joining us right up until 21 October 2019. We also accept late starters who may have started studying elsewhere, but would now like to transfer to become part of our creative community in Plymouth. Call our Admissions Team now on +44 (0)1752 203402 for all Clearing enquiries, or Whatsapp us on 07722744184.

We know it’s a big decision to make, so we’re happy to make a contribution to your travel costs to get here and check us out; and there’s no need to worry about accommodation - yours is guaranteed.

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