Keele SU scraps Mental Health Support Watch

04MR17
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Keele Student's Union have closed down their volunteer-run Nightline listening service, claiming lack of training as the reason for removing the Nightline society which runs the phone line. A petition to re-open the service has over 3 thousand signatures to date.

You can read the full article here.

What do you think about this?
Is the SU decision justified?
Post your thoughts below.
Last edited by 04MR17; 4 weeks ago
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Anonymous #1
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I think it was a great decision
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Anonymous #2
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Terrible decision
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I think it was a great decision
Imagine how selfish you have to be to think the closing of service that saves lives is a good decision
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999tigger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I think it was a great decision
Tell us why ?
Great use of anonymous there.
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999tigger
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Keele Student's Union have closed down their volunteer-run Nightline listening service, claiming lack of training as the reason for removing the Nightline society which runs the phone line.

You can read the full article here.

What do you think about this?
Is the SU decision justified?
Post your thoughts below.
Loss for the Keele uni student. Presumably they are replacing it with a 24 hour help line of their own where people can get immediate assistance.
It seems a poor choice for Keele to show no faith in its own students and if they felt training was needed then they could have offered to fund it.
Imo it send out all the wrong signals where MH provision at unis is already patchy to inadequate and a steady number of students choose to end matters in the ultimate way because they did not get any help in time. Having someone who will listen and you can tell your worries to is a valuable service.

Be interesting to see what Keele put in its place.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...yside-49773263
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04MR17
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Loss for the Keele uni student. Presumably they are replacing it with a 24 hour help line of their own where people can get immediate assistance.
It seems a poor choice for Keele to show no faith in its own students and if they felt training was needed then they could have offered to fund it.
Imo it send out all the wrong signals where MH provision at unis is already patchy to inadequate and a steady number of students choose to end matters in the ultimate way because they did not get any help in time. Having someone who will listen and you can tell your worries to is a valuable service.

Be interesting to see what Keele put in its place.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...yside-49773263
There's been nothing from the uni about this, and new services would take time to set up.

They've recently added two new things:
- An out of hours help service from the university: which consists of 1 person on shift at one time, for the whole of campus
- A peer support service: consisting of a couple of less than 20 people, mostly 3rd year students, who are each likely to support a maximum of 2 people (so helping 40 people total)
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999tigger
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(Original post by 04MR17)
There's been nothing from the uni about this, and new services would take time to set up.

They've recently added two new things:
- An out of hours help service from the university: which consists of 1 person on shift at one time, for the whole of campus
- A peer support service: consisting of a couple of less than 20 people, mostly 3rd year students, who are each likely to support a maximum of 2 people (so helping 40 people total)
Yep wholly inadequate. If its 3am and you want help, then just having another student listen and not judge might be enough to stop you doing something stupid. The Bristol suicides shamed the uni and showed them their MH services were wholly inadequate. Seems to me a poor move a kick in the face to students who gave up their time and a diminishing of the importance of MH needs. I wonder if other unis will follow suit?
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Tell us why ?
Great use of anonymous there.
Honestly people will just post to provoke when they feel they're anonymous just to watch the responses, I know this as Last year I was the one publicly asking Keele SU about refunds right after Cadet died on his way up, simply because I knew it would cause a reaction (Managed to spark some talk in the uni group chat and got mentioned in two newspapers/tabloids (one was Birmingham live (birmingham mail) and other was stoke-on-trent live (Stoke Sentinel)).
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999tigger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Honestly people will just post to provoke when they feel they're anonymous just to watch the responses, I know this as Last year I was the one publicly asking Keele SU about refunds right after Cadet died on his way up, simply because I knew it would cause a reaction (Managed to spark some talk in the uni group chat and got mentioned in two newspapers/tabloids (one was Birmingham live (birmingham mail) and other was stoke-on-trent live (Stoke Sentinel)).
Am aware of the troll situation on TSR. Stoke on Trent live. Not everyone can make that claim and something to tell your kids in years to come.
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CoolCavy
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It's awful. Having said that at least Keele was fortunate enough to have a nightline in the first place, my uni doesnt and consequently i rotate around different ones from different unis. One of which was Keele so that option is now out.
Ridiculous how vague they have been about it and the fact they cite 'safety' of callers and volunteers when all volunteers are anonymous, nightline can disconnect you and nothing is face to face. Mental health only matters to unis when they are using it as a sound bite on their prospectuses, get a puppy room in and all is cured.
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学生の父
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A real shame, to be honest.

Student night lines do need to have properly trained volunteers, and they provide a vital service. They have often been life savers in the past -- just someone to listen in a non-judgmental way.

You really do need 2 vols covering the night (for mutual support after difficult calls, as well as keeping spirits up generally), and ideally one should be female and the other male. But the training needn't take more than 3 or 4 sessions. Experienced volunteers check applicants' suitability, provide the grounding and work through role play situations.

If your uni has a student night line, please consider volunteering.
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ParadoxSocks
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I'd asked to volunteer at Keele's nightline. I'm under the mental health team there and they've been brilliant but they're there for 30 minutes at a time during office hours.

Their counselling services is notoriously weak and prone to last minute cancellations and errors causing students to fall through the cracks. Anything more advanced than student stressed and students are pushed to join NHS waiting lists. Actual appointments involve obviously bored people repeating what you'd said to them - I've had a lot of counselling before but this was shocking. At the start of the year I was under their care giving red flags but the lack of training meant that they weren't actually sure who needed to be informed for safeguarding purposes. This error, combined with a GP mistake landed me in hospital when I was clearly seriously unwell. If their official uni based support can be that shoddy, it isn't going to take much for nightline to do better than that.

Outside of official support, the options are limited to non-student based services such as the Samaritans. They're brilliant but, unless you get through to a student, it's hard to understand the unique pressures of student life.

The way it's been done is a bit dirty too. I know that they were recruiting recently - I was due to join until I gained a place on the Samaritans training instead - which suggests that the society wasn't involved in discussions for long. Communication has been vague and corporate and just doesn't make sense when other unis are managing to keep it running.

I suspect they weren't willing to put funding where it's needed because the uni is struggling financially. More needs to be done at Keele, but cuts have been brutal this year and it appears it's going to affect those needing the most support.
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Deyesy
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I think it was a great decision
I am beyond confused at how you believe this to be a good decision. Any cuts to mental health support are an absolute travesty.
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Leviathan1741
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I don't think it's justified; knowing that you can call someone to talk about any problems you're having (whether they are well trained or not) is important in my opinion, since not all students might have family or friends to listen to them
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Keele University
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Mental health support at Keele

Student support and mental health provision at Keele has increased significantly in recent years.

The University provides dedicated specialist student support services, including our counselling and mental health team, and recently introduced out-of-hours support staff who are available throughout the night.

Keele students can also now access free online support via Big White Wall, which provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors, 365 days a year. Furthermore, students have access to our network of trained mental health peer supporters and resident advisers.

The University also began a new project this year funded by the Office for Students to lead a regional partnership that is developing an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students. This project provides opportunities for engagement with both on- and off-campus students and the opportunity for early intervention, as well as reducing the risk of isolation.

As has been discussed on these forums, our volunteer-led Nightline student society has been withdrawn for the 2019/20 academic year. In making this decision the Keele Students’ Union, in consultation with the University, looked at how the Nightline service had been delivered, how often it had been delivered, the service demand, volunteer hours, how and what training had been provided, the increasingly complex support needs of the student body, and how the committee had been operating. To ensure the best possible support for our students we need to ensure that those giving support are professionally trained in line with sector best practice. Unfortunately, the existing Nightline society was unable to meet these standards.

This decision was driven entirely by our duty of care to Keele students and appropriate risk management, and was not based on any financial considerations whatsoever.

All Keele students have access to the official and University-provided expanded support services outlined above, which have increased significantly in recent years.

For information about all of these services please visit our website.
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Deyesy
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(Original post by Keele University)
Mental health support at Keele

Student support and mental health provision at Keele has increased significantly in recent years.

The University provides dedicated specialist student support services, including our counselling and mental health team, and recently introduced out-of-hours support staff who are available throughout the night.

Keele students can also now access free online support via Big White Wall, which provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors, 365 days a year. Furthermore, students have access to our network of trained mental health peer supporters and resident advisers.

The University also began a new project this year funded by the Office for Students to lead a regional partnership that is developing an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students. This project provides opportunities for engagement with both on- and off-campus students and the opportunity for early intervention, as well as reducing the risk of isolation.

As has been discussed on these forums, our volunteer-led Nightline student society has been withdrawn for the 2019/20 academic year. In making this decision the Keele Students’ Union, in consultation with the University, looked at how the Nightline service had been delivered, how often it had been delivered, the service demand, volunteer hours, how and what training had been provided, the increasingly complex support needs of the student body, and how the committee had been operating. To ensure the best possible support for our students we need to ensure that those giving support are professionally trained in line with sector best practice. Unfortunately, the existing Nightline society was unable to meet these standards.

This decision was driven entirely by our duty of care to Keele students and appropriate risk management, and was not based on any financial considerations whatsoever.

All Keele students have access to the official and University-provided expanded support services outlined above, which have increased significantly in recent years.

For information about all of these services please visit our website.
I'm sorry but I just don't buy this. You should be looking for support/reform the service if need be.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Keele University)
Mental health support at Keele

Student support and mental health provision at Keele has increased significantly in recent years.

The University provides dedicated specialist student support services, including our counselling and mental health team, and recently introduced out-of-hours support staff who are available throughout the night.

Keele students can also now access free online support via Big White Wall, which provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors, 365 days a year. Furthermore, students have access to our network of trained mental health peer supporters and resident advisers.

The University also began a new project this year funded by the Office for Students to lead a regional partnership that is developing an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students. This project provides opportunities for engagement with both on- and off-campus students and the opportunity for early intervention, as well as reducing the risk of isolation.

As has been discussed on these forums, our volunteer-led Nightline student society has been withdrawn for the 2019/20 academic year. In making this decision the Keele Students’ Union, in consultation with the University, looked at how the Nightline service had been delivered, how often it had been delivered, the service demand, volunteer hours, how and what training had been provided, the increasingly complex support needs of the student body, and how the committee had been operating. To ensure the best possible support for our students we need to ensure that those giving support are professionally trained in line with sector best practice. Unfortunately, the existing Nightline society was unable to meet these standards.

This decision was driven entirely by our duty of care to Keele students and appropriate risk management, and was not based on any financial considerations whatsoever.

All Keele students have access to the official and University-provided expanded support services outlined above, which have increased significantly in recent years.

For information about all of these services please visit our website.
Can the university comment on the information provided by a Resident's Adviser that the out of hours support you've detailed consists of just 1 person for the entire campus at any one time?

Could the university also comment on the fact there are fewer than 20 Peer Supporters who each will likely be supporting no more than 2 students each?
(I say this as someone currently wearing a Peer Support T shirt.)

Could the university comment on the evidence provided by Resident Advisers that their mental health training is far less than that of Keele Nightline.

Could the university respond to the as-yet unanswered question of why they or the SU is unwilling to provide Nightline an opportunity to be trained professionally?
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Deyesy
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Can the university comment on the information provided by a Resident's Adviser that the out of hours support you've detailed consists of just 1 person for the entire campus at any one time?

Could the university also comment on the fact there are fewer than 20 Peer Supporters who each will likely be supporting no more than 2 students each?
(I say this as someone currently wearing a Peer Support T shirt.)

Could the university comment on the evidence provided by Resident Advisers that their mental health training is far less than that of Keele Nightline.

Could the university respond to the as-yet unanswered question of why they or the SU is unwilling to provide Nightline an opportunity to be trained professionally?
:clap2: Amen to this.
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ParadoxSocks
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(Original post by Keele University)
Mental health support at Keele

Student support and mental health provision at Keele has increased significantly in recent years.

The University provides dedicated specialist student support services, including our counselling and mental health team, and recently introduced out-of-hours support staff who are available throughout the night.

Keele students can also now access free online support via Big White Wall, which provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors, 365 days a year. Furthermore, students have access to our network of trained mental health peer supporters and resident advisers.

The University also began a new project this year funded by the Office for Students to lead a regional partnership that is developing an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students. This project provides opportunities for engagement with both on- and off-campus students and the opportunity for early intervention, as well as reducing the risk of isolation.

As has been discussed on these forums, our volunteer-led Nightline student society has been withdrawn for the 2019/20 academic year. In making this decision the Keele Students’ Union, in consultation with the University, looked at how the Nightline service had been delivered, how often it had been delivered, the service demand, volunteer hours, how and what training had been provided, the increasingly complex support needs of the student body, and how the committee had been operating. To ensure the best possible support for our students we need to ensure that those giving support are professionally trained in line with sector best practice. Unfortunately, the existing Nightline society was unable to meet these standards.

This decision was driven entirely by our duty of care to Keele students and appropriate risk management, and was not based on any financial considerations whatsoever.

All Keele students have access to the official and University-provided expanded support services outlined above, which have increased significantly in recent years.

For information about all of these services please visit our website.
The support at Keele is definitely there but there's waiting list and a mental health crisis happens *now* and won't wait until you're at the top of a waiting list or once the new project has been rolled out.

Sometimes somebody just needs to rant out their issue, or needs somebody else just to hear them so that whatever is going on seems manageable. They just needed an ear and a voice.

I'm considered a high risk mental healthwise - I'm lucky that if I call up, I can probably see somebody a week later but not all students have that. I've read that other students are given an assessment and then can wait weeks to see somebody, only to have the appointment cancelled over and over again.

Big White Wall works for some people but others find it condescending. The reviews are 50/50.

If Nightline was struggling to do its work then how is it possible for it to have existed for decades at Keele and how does it continue to exist at other unis?

Peer supporters and resident advisors have less training than Nightline but they're able to cope with the pressures previously handled by Nightline? The services are limited and don't offer anonymous support. It just isn't the same.

I've loved Keele to bits and the support is brilliant if you're needing the support but Nightline was just always there if you needed it for something big or small. I really hope that the decision is looked at again with input from students and other Nightline branches to look at what can be improved.
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