Students sign petition appealing for College to increase funding for welfare services

As of this afternoon, over 1600 people have signed

Students have circulated a petition appealing for College to increase funding for welfare and mental health services. As of this afternoon, over 1600 people have signed the petition.

According to the petition, “some light has been shone on problems associated with [College]’s welfare services” following the death of a student in the Library this week.

The petition lists a “huge backlog of emails from students seeking counselling and waiting lists, some exceeding 4 months” as an example.

“This is a funding problem and we are calling for signatures to demand an increase in the university’s funding for mental health services.”

“No one would expect students to cope with physical pain for months without treatment, and the same should go for mental health”, it continued.

The anonymous group asks students to “please share your experiences with [College] welfare services to [email protected]” if they “are comfortable doing so”.

Following the passing of the medical student on Wednesday evening, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) posted a range of mental health supports that are available to students on their social media accounts.

A comment left under the post, calling out issues with accessibility with the student counselling services and the union’s welfare office’s slow email response time, gained over 450 likes.

It said: “Welfare needs to start responding to emails and student counselling needs to be more accessible with shorter wait times, the current wait time is not OK”.

Speaking to Trinity News, the group behind the petition said they have asked students to share their experiences with the welfare services provided so that they can “compile some of these stories and send them forward [with the petition] to appeal for more concentrated funding for Trinity welfare services”.

“In the wake of what happened on Wednesday evening, we know that many people will have been directly or indirectly affected by this. The public nature of what happened will be very triggering for some people and we believe it is time for Trinity to finally recognise the shortcomings of their welfare services.”

They added that while they “recognise that funding is limited, mental health services should be made a priority”.

According to the group “students who have particularly pertinent reasons for applying for counselling (such as post-traumatic stress and double bereavements) are not being accelerated through the waiting list and after weeks of waiting, are being told they are still behind 100 people”.

“People have reported that their counselling sessions have felt very rushed and sometimes even cut short by the counsellor due to other sessions/ meetings”, they continued.

“The consequences of being made to feel that one’s problems aren’t really being listened to are very grave for those already in a vulnerable state.”

“We hope our petition will encourage Trinity to address these issues and be more proactive so as to improve the quality and availability of welfare support for students”, they concluded.

Bella Salerno

Bella Salerno is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh Middle Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Civilisations and French student.