Interview and analysis: Tom McFerran – SRC VP Student Support

Published

Laurie Clarke
Editor

This is Tom’s second year running for VP Student Support and he doesn’t seem to have lost his enthusiasm.

Tom proved knowledgeable about current campus developments and was aware of the implications of these changes for the University’s current mental health services. Accepting criticism of the effectiveness of past SRC initiatives, Tom indicated the necessity of fundamental change to the mental health support currently available, and stated his intention to better publicise SRC initiatives through social media campaigns to ensure that students are aware of the support available to them.

It’s clear Tom has drawn on personal experience as a Glasgow Uni student, in addition to consultations with students who have used the University Counselling and Psychology Services (CaPS). In his interview, Tom expanded on his rather brief manifesto to identify core failures of the University’s mental health support, particularly counselling waitlists and the bureaucracy of university as a detriment to the mental health of students. Specifically, Tom stated the necessity of “streamlining” mental health services available to students – including academic requirements such as good cause – to create a more accessible experience for students with long term mental health problems.

Though Tom seemed less clear on the practicalities of increasing funds for CaPS, stating his intention to confront the issue with Chief Operating Officer David Duncan, he clearly has conviction in his aims to improve welfare on campus.

Refreshingly, Tom appears to have a comprehensive understanding of practical measures that can be put in place to make university a more accessible environment for students with long term mental illness and short term academic stress alike. As a second time candidate for VP Student Support– a contested position this year – he’s already proving his determination.

Read Tom’s manifesto here.