According to recent figures, some 1,000 students attended UL’s student counselling service over the 2014-2015 academic year, including a large number of high risk cases involving students who were suicidal.
The Students Union and counselling staff approached the university regarding the matter and from last week funding was granted to allow extra staffing hours to the equivalent of an additional full-time counsellor.
Head of counselling at UL Dr Declan Aherne told the Limerick Post: “We have an ongoing problem every year with waiting lists for counselling services. This year the Students Union brought the issue to the university’s attention and the university has responded by allocating extra funding to provide a short-term solution, with a commitment to working towards a long-term solution.
“It’s the equivalent of another full time member of staff. Hopefully in due course we will be able to recruit a further full-time member of staff; if we could do that we’d be delighted.”
“It’s a very positive response by the university as they recognise that students are in need of support and that the best place to provide this is on campus.
“Last week we had about 40 students on the waiting list; that mounts very quickly and by the end of the week we had about 60. The objective is that every student will get an appointment before Christmas so that no student goes home without being seen”, he said.