East Anglia Students 'Deeply Concerned' About Mental Health Provisions
Students at The University of East Anglia have called on campus bosses to lobby for better mental health services.
Since last May, four students have died on the campus, leading the university students’ union (UEASU) to draft its first mental health manifesto, raising concerns about NHS services, waiting times and course workloads.
Speaking to the BBC, Georgina Burchell, the student union's welfare, community and diversity officer, said: "The manifesto is really important and it pulls together a lot of things people are saying on social media.
Embedded content: https://twitter.com/ueasu_advice/status/1102200205196386306
"It makes something productive out of all the emotions people are feeling and provides a clear outline to the university about how we think mental health should be managed."
The manifesto outlined how the union was ‘deeply concerned about the state of NHS provision in Norfolk’ and the inadequate rating of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).
It called for university leaders to become more involved in helping to shape NHS strategy for student and young people's mental health services, lobby for improvements and set up regular meetings with the mental health trust and other educational institutions.
Concerns were also raised regarding waiting times for students to receive initial aid with their mental health, with the manifesto highlighting that students often had to wait weeks to be seen through the UEA's Student Support Services.
It also urged the university to ensure the number of assessments students were set was ‘mentally taxing... not mentally damaging’.
Vice-chancellor Professor David Richardson said the university was focused on supporting staff and students: ”We have recognised the significant increase in demand in wellbeing and mental health services,” said Prof Richardson. “What we can do, what we must do."
The university has already announced an extra £250,000 to pay for improved access to services and wellbeing staff and will spend £1.4m on mental health services from August - a 63% rise on this year's budget, reports the BBC.
The NSFT declined to comment on concerns raised in the manifesto.