Students’ Union President Pat de Brún has confirmed that the Union will be seeking to reduce the eight-week waiting list for the Counselling Service by referring students to an outside practice, the costs of which will be covered by funds obtained from the University.
De Brún expressed concern for students currently on the waiting list, “it is a very serious situation because obviously some of the people on that list might be at serious risk,” which was his motivation for putting a proposal before the relevant University committee. However, de Brún recognised that the solution was not a permanent one, “it’s a temporary solution but a good solution.”
The service will remain free of charge to students, as an “agreement in principle” has been established with the University to provide additional funds to cover the visits. De Brún believes this to be “fantastic because it’s one of the most of the most crucial areas that we really need to look at.”
According to de Brún, the money will be coming “essentially from the Vice-President for Students’ budget”, which is allocated by the Student Experience Management Executive Committee. He explained that with the Community Musical no longer taking place this year, “there was a little bit of additional money, which would normally go as a contribution to that, so that money is the money that is being targeted and which has, in principle, been made available.”
Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Rachel Breslin, has met with MyMind, a clinic in Ranelagh, to whom students from the waiting list may be referred. Breslin explained that students on the waiting list will be given a code or a voucher for an outside counselling service.
Representatives from the Community Musical stated that they were in no position to confirm or deny whether the funds allocated for the initiative would come from their own budget, “realistically, you don’t know what budgets are available from year to year, but I’m sure that some of this year’s money will certainly be available.”