According to the University Observer, the waiting list for University College Dublin’s counselling service is at its highest in years with 194 students waiting. Twenty of these cases are deemed “priority” cases.
Speaking to the University Observer, Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Eoghan Mac Domhnaill, said the counselling service “are doing their very best” but some students are “not going to be seen before Christmas”.
Students who have been on the list for more than two weeks can be referred to external counselling services, but the waiting time would still be similar.
In an effort to alleviate the waiting list, Mac Domhnaill has said that the University College Dublin Students’ Union have hopes to collaborate with Pieta House so that UCD students will be a given a priority referral. In their second semester UCD will also be re-joining Nightline, a service which provides a hotline for those who need to talk.
In comparison, as stated by the Trinity’s student counselling services’ website, waiting times for Trinity’s students can be from two to ten days but will increase during busy times. Moreover, Vice President for Welfare and Equality in Dublin City University, Podge Henry, said that students could be waiting up to 6 weeks for an appointment with their counselling service.
From mid-October, the students who are deemed to be suitable for counselling are added to a waiting list, with 48 students currently on that list. The Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Damien McClean, stated that “whoever needs to be seen will be seen first”, and that “there are emergency appointments and there are procedures for that”. Emergency appointments are available daily, from 3-4pm.
According to the UCD counselling service website, they have eight counsellors for their 30,000 students, in comparison to Trinity’s ten counsellors for around 17,000 students.
On November 1, a new campaign in Trinity called “Lean on Us”was launched in order to raise awareness and reduce stigmas surrounding student support services on campus. The campaign, lead by the counselling service, aims to promote college services such as the disability Service, Careers Advisory Service, Counselling Service and the Global Relations Service. Students were also chosen as ambassadors for the campaign, as well as an online video of students, staff and alumni promoting college services.