The number of students seeking counselling services in University College Cork has been increasing yearly by 10% to 15% for the past several years, according to one of its counsellors.
Over the 2016/2017 term, a total of 1,351 students sought individual counselling sessions with Student Counselling and Development.
The same period saw an 11% increase in the number of students who were provided with individual counselling.
“The figures show how important the counselling services are for students, it helps them through what can be a difficult period of transition in their lives,” said UCC Counsellor Ann O’Connell.
“We are constantly reviewing our services and we know our peak times will come at Christmas and May during exams.
“We’ve noticed an increase of around ten to 15% every year for the past few years so it’s important we grow to accommodate the demand from the students,” she added.
In 2016-2017, of the 120 students who completed our satisfaction survey, 89% of them found counselling to be effective or very effective in helping them to deal with their issues.
A further 38% of students who attended for individual counselling were considering leaving UCC and, of these students, 83% found counselling to be important or very important in their decision to remain in UCC.
“The figures show that our services help with student retention which is good for the university who don’t lose any fees or students,” said Ms O’Connell.
“The university knows how important the service is for the students and they do support us with funding, particularly with increases in funding at peak times.”
UCC has recently increased the working space for the team of 12 part-time counsellors.
Ms O’Connell said the service is in constant communication with the university.
“We’re always talking about the service and ways to improve it and help more students,” she said.
“We’re in constant communication and we’re hoping to see additional funding and resources allocated to the service.
“With the number of students seeking counselling increasing year on year, it’s important that we have the resources to deal with them,” she added.