Student mental health threatened as Scottish Government cuts counselling services

2 mins read

The Scottish Government plans to cut government funding for mental health counsellors in Scottish universities and colleges by July this year. Experts warn of an impending mental health crisis.

You know, on top of all the other crises.

The world has recently become increasingly unstable. Long-awaited relief from the pandemic has been marred by the cost-of-living crisis, a dying planet, and ongoing instability in the UK government (how many Prime Ministers was it last year?).

Despite the Scottish Government’s 2021 pledge to introduce more counsellors, cuts will renege on this promise. John Swinney claims the funding will be reinvested in the NHS. However, cuts will cause services to be overstretched and place patients more at risk.

An NUS survey shows that over half of students surveyed felt the pandemic had severely impacted their mental health. Think Positive research shows that 48.9 per cent of respondents blamed financial pressures as a strain on their mental health.

This only continues as life progresses. A  Scottish government poll shows that 48 per cent of people feel their mental health has been negatively impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, a figure that rises to 59 per cent in low-income households and 82 per cent in less financially secure ones.

Our mental health must be protected, and it must be protected now.

A lack of help available on Scottish campuses will only shift the responsibility to external services that are already overstretched, and private help inaccessible to those who clearly need it the most. 

However, all is not lost – yet.

NUS is petitioning to save government-funded counsellors. Stirling students are being surveyed to make our campus’ independent mental health services better. You can help to ensure that the safety and health of Scottish students is protected.

As a student, I feel that losing these services will be disastrous for Scottish students who already have enough to deal with. We, as students, deserve to be protected, and our safety guaranteed. This is for our future, and for the future of all of Scotland’s young people.

Students, make your voices heard. Protect the future now.

The University of Stirling Student Survey can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: Mindfully Healing

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