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University counsellors are all some students have

Natasha Payne

UC students are calling for more staff as mental health issues skyrocket in tertiary education students.

Last Friday New Zealand came together to raise money and support for kiwi kids who struggle with mental health. 

“Gumboot Friday” encouraged kiwis to wear their gummies throughout their day and donate money to the cause. Although the cause is greatly appreciated, some are wondering where the help is for University students who are the biggest age bracket who struggle with mental health issues. 

University of Canterbury Student's Association spokespeople James Ensor and Tori McNoe say this is the time in their life they need the most help. 

“This is the place where we start formulating the rest of our lives, and if we aren’t aware of these things now, knowing how to deal with them or help ourselves, we are going to grow up not knowing how to do it,” McNoe says.  

University of Canterbury has three free counsellors which students who are seeking appointments need to wait for up to three weeks for. One student, who has needed their help, says this time frame is sometimes too late for students who need help during a dark time. 

“They don’t seem to have enough funding,” the second year student says. “When you are struggling and don’t have the money to go to a private practice, the university counsellors are all you have.”

In 2018, 50 per cent of those who dropped out of study said it was because of mental health issues. This can range from anxiety to suicidal thoughts. 

McNoe says students are going to be the leaders of the next generation, and if they don't start the conversation now, no one will.