Destiny Adeyemi, BA African studies
SOAS is being praised for having short response times for its student mental health care, with students waiting 1.2 days for support on average. A study on the quality of university mental health services by Sir Norman Lamb has revealed that most universities have long waiting times for counselling services. This study used information such as waiting times and funding as its main criteria for how effective services were. The data is based on replies by UK universities to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. Universities were asked for their average (median) waiting times for students to be seen by the counselling service.
Almost all students are contacted within 6 days of first getting in touch.
SOAS is able to provide such a fast service by offering initial drop-ins where students are seen, with almost all students being contacted within 6 days of first getting in touch.
When asked for a response to this story, SOAS said, ‘Student feedback on the quality of our counselling is very positive. We think engaging with students quickly when they contact us is the right and appropriate thing to do. We offer students a range of options to support them, such as online options and an increasing range of groups and workshops. We think having these range of approaches to choose from is a good and effective way to support our students.’
However, the use of waiting times as a criterion can be misleading and may not present a full picture of how effective services are, according to The King’s Fund. Student feedback may also provide a more accurate representation, due to the variety of services offered to students.