Students have criticised Salford Student Union’s mental health services, arguing that there is not enough being done to provide support to struggling students.

As a new peer to peer support group is launched, Salford Now interviewed students regarding their opinion of the mental health services provided by the student union.

The support group named Rafiki is a new drop-in service, led by students for students. The main aim of the group is to support students with mental health problems.

Samaritans have trained the students leading the program on how to provide peer support. However, there are concerns from other students, questioning if students may struggle to provide substantial or effective help.

The new service has been scrutinized by students who have used the previous services.

Evolution not revolution

Students have complained that the current services have long wait times for counselling and wellbeing sessions.

They would like to see more focus placed upon improving the current services as opposed to launching new programs.

Jacob Lathbury, a film production student at the University of Salford, has stated that the current services are ‘appalling’.

He continued: “From my personal opinion, when I went to make an appointment the only times that were free were when I was in university.

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“I looked recently and there weren’t any free appointments from now until Christmas, which I find ridiculous as the Christmas period is where most people breakdown from workload and stress.”

Another student, Kate Gardner, has argued that ‘the services that the university offers are good on paper, but more could be done to help.

“Having anxiety issues means that it is difficult when they place a time limit upon the support you can get.”

In response to these comments, Emily Voss Bevan, Health and Social Sabbatical Officer, said: “Wait times are too long for the university services, that is why we have introduced drop in sessions with Rafiki.

“We hope that Rafiki will address the current issues that the mental health services have.”

The student union is currently appealing for volunteers to take part in this new group.

Despite these hopes, there are still worries from other students that this new service will not be enough.

Jacob Lathbury has said that ‘it feels like we are trying to put a plaster on a fatal artery wound.’

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