The number of students registered with the Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS) for mental health issues has increased steadily from 2333 in 2018/19, but the number of students receiving at least one private counselling session with the University’s service has dropped by 10 per cent from 3266 to 2910, an FOI request reveals.
Students have reported struggling to access the service, with one* saying: “I called them multiple times, only to not get any answer or be told the week was already full and to try the week after”.
In response the University of Manchester spokesperson said, “For a period of time during lockdown and remote operation access to the appointment line became more difficult. In recognition of this … we have recruited 4 triage and support workers offering the first point of contact to all callers and introduced a new caller management system. This allows the appointment line to be available throughout the day and routine next day appointments are offered. Urgent and crisis queries will be offered same day support. In addition the duty counsellor responds to all email queries.”
But the University’s claims of a same-day booking service have reportedly led GPs and Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) to rely on the University’s system, rather than offering external support to student patients.
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Source: The Mancunion, October 11th, 2021