Vanessa Tracey argues that the emergency additional funding that has been granted to the Wellbeing Centre is long overdue.
When your closest friend tells you she needs counselling but can’t get an appointment for another six weeks, you really start to panic. Despite the severity of her situation, this was the first available appointment for her to be seen at the Wellbeing Centre after her initial assessment.
Friends are not the same as counsellors and despite all the love and support she could get from those around her, talking to a professional was still necessary. It was only after speaking to her personal tutor that the appointment was moved forward and although the counselling itself was incredibly helpful, the thought of having to wait such a long time caused an unnecessary strain on what was already a delicate situation. She is by far the bravest person I know.
Although university is often perceived as the best period of your life, there are various pressures and anxieties that filter in day to day on all levels. It isn’t just a question of ‘am I making the most of things?’ but juggling impending deadlines, societal commitments and a social life can be exhausting. Get the balance wrong and you might have to avoid your housemate for a while for fear of getting your head bitten off, get the balance upside down and it may lead to something more serious.
Despite being constantly surrounded by others, university life can also be very isolating and although we are supposed to pretend to be adults, worries about sometimes ‘not fitting in’ or home sickness still have a part to play in our lives. This is why it is vital we have reliable support from places such as the Wellbeing Centre even though most may never even step foot in the building. Just knowing there is a small refuge is a load off our minds.
However, letting students wait over a month for a first appointment is extreme. Having worked within mental health myself as a first point of contact, I quickly learnt that if somebody isn’t in the right place at the right time to offer support, you can soon have a situation of crisis on your hands. The call centre only covers a small area of Essex but still receives over 2500 calls a day, also teaching me that mental health can no longer be brushed aside or stigmatised. Mental health is real and is encountered by one in four people at some stage of their life.
The emergency additional funding that has been granted to the Wellbeing Centre is long overdue.
Vanessa Traceybookmark me