In her letter, Grace detailed her “damaging” experiences with the Cardiff University Counselling Service. She reached out to student services when her mental health began to impact her studies and she felt she was struggling to cope.
During six counselling sessions, Grace felt “privileged” for being offered support by staff members who didn't take notes and failed to remember what had been discussed in previous sessions. She described her treatment as “humiliating and unfair to say the least”.
Many students feel let down by the lack of mental health support at UK universities, especially during the pandemic. Chronically underfunded services can cause more harm than good. Grace points out, if universities “cannot provide a suitable and effective mental health service, then they should not be offering it and should refer students elsewhere”.
Grace described her treatment as “humiliating and unfair to say the least”
Grace’s letter also addressed Cardiff University’s inadequate handling of the pandemic. She stated that despite national lockdown starting on 16th March, she did not receive any form of communication from her faculty until 20th April.
Unsure how lockdown would affect her coursework and exams, Grace, like many students, felt “completely ignored and dismissed by academic staff”. When her exams were confirmed, she was given little information about how their format would be altered for the remote context. She also received no support during lockdown with her master’s dissertation.
“hold the university accountable” for their “unfair treatment and poor management”Grace, Cardiff University student
The only reply Grace received from her 6-page complaint was from the SU Student Advice Service. The service stated that according to the University’s formal procedure, all complaints must be made within “28 days of the date the issue arose”, effectively disregarding her concerns. In an interview with The Tab, Grace encouraged students to work together to “hold the university accountable” for their “unfair treatment and poor management”. Grace signed off her letter “Not-So-Kind Regards”, with £9k yearly tuition fees, students across the country have the right to demand better.