More students accessing uni counselling services

By Regan Paranihi

New Zealand Union of Students Association data released today shows the use of counselling services by New Zealand university students has increased nearly 25 percent in the last three years.

National President Jonathan Gee says, "This data is proving what students around the country already know too well; that their services are under increasing pressure and access to counselling services is becoming increasingly difficult."

At Massey University there has been a 69.14% increase in the number of individual students using counselling services since 2015 and Victoria University of Wellington has had the highest percentage of enrolled students using counseling services in the last three years.

Massey University Students' Association (MUSA) President Ngahuia Kirton says, "An increase in individual students means more students feel comfortable to access help, but it's important that the help is there.  We can see that the situation is clearly getting more difficult, and action must be taken to mitigate this."

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) president Marlon Drake says that the under-resourcing of the service is being felt by students.

“We have students choosing not to see a counsellor because they do not want to take somebody else's session."

NZUSA are calling on Health Minister David Clark to provide funding for student mental health services.

"Currently, students who are under financial pressure are having to pay for their own mental health. This government has committed to free counselling for under 25-year-olds, so it's reasonable for students to expect this to become a reality." says Gee.