I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information in regards to the mental heath resources at your university.
1. How many support service staff have been employed with a mental health remit (e.g. counselling, wellbeing) in each of the last 5 academic years. If a breakdown is not available for mental health staff, please provide a total for the closest possible category.
2. Budget for mental health support for each of the last 5 academic years, and where possible a breakdown on how that money is allocated, e.g. staff, marketing, equipment etc.
3. Number of students seeking mental health support in each of the last 5 academic years.
4. Average waiting time for mental health support in each of the last 5 academic years.
5. Any internal reports or reviews relating to mental health provision over the last 5 years.
Please provide the above information digitally, preferably in the form of an excel spreadsheet.
If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance, under your Section 16 obligations, as to how I can refine my request to be included in the scope of the Act.
In any case, if you can identify ways that my request could be refined please provide further advice and assistance to indicate this.
I look forward to your response within 20 working days, as stipulated by the Act.
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to clarify what I am asking for.
Dear Kirsty Card,
Thank you for your email of 7^th December 2018.
I am pleased to provide the following responses. Please note that mental
health support for students at Queen Mary University of London is
generally split between the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and
Advice and Counselling Service (ACS). In addition, there are Student
Support Officers in academic schools. The students’ union and chaplaincy
may also offer support.
1. How many support service staff have been employed with a mental health
remit (e.g. counselling, wellbeing) in each of the last 5 academic years.
If a breakdown is not available for mental health staff, please provide a
total for the closest possible category.
The QMUL ACS staffing has been as follows: 2013/14 - 5.4FTE counsellors*,
2014/15 - 5.4FTE counsellors*, 2015/16 - 5.4FTE counsellors*, 2016/17 -
5.75FTE counsellors*(increased to 6.55FTE from March 2017), 2017/18 -
6.66FTE counsellors/therapists, 2018/19 - 6.66 FTE* PLUS weekly psychiatry
clinics, PLUS Drug and Alcohol clinics twice a week.
*ACS also employs, in addition to the counsellors mentioned above, Welfare
Advisers who provide a specialist advice, case working and advocacy
service for students with mental health needs e.g. disability benefits,
welfare benefits, securing appropriate housing, money and debt advice.
This would probably push the figures above up by approx. another 1.5 FTE
in each year.
The DDS employs a Mental Health Co-ordinator (Grade 5 previously, Grade 6
as of 2016/17) and a Mental Health / Autistic Spectrum Disorder Adviser
(Grade 4 previously, Grade 5 as of 2016/17).
Residential Support, Chaplaincy, Personal Tutoring, Student Support
Officers all have specific remits to support MH provision.
2. Budget for mental health support for each of the last 5 academic years,
and where possible a breakdown on how that money is allocated, e.g. staff,
marketing, equipment etc.
We cannot provide the exact information you have requested. This is
because there is no one, distinct department which provides mental health
services/support to students at QMUL. Instead, the Advice and Counselling
Service and the Disability and Dyslexia Service provide the most support
to students with mental health issues, but the Student Health Service as
well as Student Support Officers in individual schools as well as others,
also contribute as already stated. Both of ACS and DDS provide other
services in addition. There is no ring-fenced budget for 'mental health
support'. The costs of most specialist support for students with mental
health issues is paid for through individual students' Disabled Students'
Allowances, the figures for which we do not hold. QMUL funds the
Student Health Service to support patients, some of whom will have
mental health issues.
3. Number of students seeking mental health support in each of the last 5
Academic counselling University
year session population
2013/14 701 18768
2014/15 823 19824
2015/16 897 21187
2016/17 664* 23538
2017/18 780 25801
* This fall is due to unforeseen vacant posts / staff absences in 16/17.
Academic Year No. of student appointments with the Mental Health
Co-ordinator / Mental Health Adviser
2015/16 495 (in addition to 51 ‘Did Not Attends’ and 25
2016/17 744 (in addition to 109 ‘Did Not Attends’ and 45
2017/18 860 (in addition to 143 ‘Did Not Attends’ or cancellations
and 60 drop-in appointments)
Academic Year No. of students receiving specialist mental health mentoring
4. Average waiting time for mental health support in each of the last 5
ACS: We are not able to provide accurate data for waiting times for
counselling appointments as we offer students more than one option about
how they access counselling. However, at the time of this request, a
limited number of same day counselling appointments continue to be
available every weekday on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition,
pre-booked counselling appointments are available – the waiting times
depend on each student’s availability and currently students are normally
being offered a first counselling appointment between 1 day and
approximately 3 weeks after they request this, depending on the student’s
DDS: the current waiting times to see either the Mental Health
Co-ordinator or the Mental Health Adviser is around one working week;
students can also come to weekly drop-in (Wednesday afternoons) with
practical queries and the Mental Health Adviser runs a twice weekly
drop-in for students with conditions on the autistic spectrum, e.g.
5. Any internal reports or reviews relating to mental health provision
over the last 5 years.
Please see attached.
If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask QMUL to conduct a
review of this decision. To do this, please contact the College in
writing (including by fax, letter or email), describe the original
request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include an address
for correspondence. You have 40 working days from receipt of this
communication to submit a review request. When the review process has
been completed, if you are still dissatisfied, you may ask the Information
Commissioner to intervene. Please see www.ico.org.uk for details.
Records & Information Compliance Manager
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