Counselling & Psychological Services building plaque
Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Rhiannon Doherty

UofG has one of the longest waits for mental health support in Scotland

A new report has shown that the University of Glasgow performed worst out of eight Scottish universities examined, with an average waiting time of over 14 days. This was compared to 1.6 days at the University of Aberdeen and 3 days at the University of the West of Scotland. 

The University of Glasgow offers a combination of online and in-person counselling services. Students must first complete a questionnaire before being placed on a waiting list for an initial consultation. 

The report, entitled ‘University Counselling Services in Scotland: Insights and Perspectives Following the Covid-19 Pandemic’, also found that depression and anxiety were the most common issues reported in students applying for mental health support. Moreover, final year students were overrepresented in the numbers of students requesting mental health support services and first-year students were underrepresented. 

The report offered a series of recommendations to universities, including that they “should clearly define their scope of service. If universities are only in a position to offer short-term counselling for students, they should aim to build referral pathways to off-campus mental health providers for students in need of long-term counselling.”

This report comes after UofG recently claimed that between 2017-2022 the average wait time to access Counselling and Psychological Services and Disability services has decreased from 25 days to 14, while at the same time as demand increased by 32%. However, despite this, a recent FOI by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed that some students at the University of Glasgow have had to wait up to three months for access to mental health support services.

Earlier this year, The Glasgow Guardian spoke to students about their experiences with counselling services at the University. One current student said: “I didn’t wait too long for the appointment, it was more like whether I was able to book them quickly as soon as they were released because they get taken away within minutes and there are not too many appointments available. 

“The overall experience was absolutely terrible. I wish I just didn’t go for it because they just dismissed my issues and said they were too trivial for them to offer me any more help. They said they would check in again with me in 3 weeks but my first experience was so terrible that I chose to not attend the follow up..”

Another student cited similar concerns after that initial appointment was made stating that: “With starting the service and getting the actual help with advice and regular therapy, it had been about 3 months. It started with the registration for the service from the website and then getting the emergency consultations for 40 minutes. I found it easier to get a one-off service than the regular one. Even with the wait, there was no better alternative because the NHS waiting lines were worse off. 

A University spokesperson said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of students and colleagues is the University’s prime concern. It has invested in facilities, student services and in staffing across the University to offer a host of support and guidance, especially in Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS) and Disability Services.

“Improvements to services have resulted in students being seen and assessed quicker than ever and those exhibiting high levels of distress receiving support and advice more effectively. Improved online mechanisms also means access to support is immediate on a 24 hour basis.”

The report can be read in full here.

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Albert

I have been waiting two months for mental health support from my Community Mental Health Services and I’m still waiting. They have a Kafkaesque system. They claim to be person-centred, but they are not.