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A Review of the University Counselling Services

In response to negative public discourse surrounding mental health services at university, The Buchanan Institute put forward a proposal, detailing the University of Edinburgh’s Student Counselling Service's current procedures and identifying areas for further improvement.



University of Edinburgh, Health


Ellie Cleasby

Nina Pusic

Isabelle Rayner

Executive Summary

This policy proposal is a research document published by The Buchanan Institute, Scotland’s first and only student-led think tank. The purpose of this proposal is to investigate potential improvements for the University of Edinburgh’s Student Counselling Service, while also increasing transparency about the service’s current policies and procedures. Earlier in 2017, we recognized the urgent need for such a

document; the public discourse surrounding the current counselling service among university students was consistently negative. The counselling service is a vital organ within the university’s network of health services therefore it is crucial to draw attention to rising student concern over its function and effectiveness.

To conduct our research, we distributed an anonymous survey for University of Edinburgh students who have used the counselling service. In addition to this survey, we conducted several interviews with members of staff across the university health services, including the Director of the counselling service.

We hope that this document provides an unbiased, detailed and comparative analysis of the current counselling service at the University of Edinburgh. We also recognize that the pursuit of better mental health on campus must be holistic; engaging students and multiple avenues within the university will allow students to have the services they need to explore their mental health. Therefore, the

recommendations listed at the end of this document are not necessarily limited to counselling service itself; we emphasize the need for multilateral collaboration between EUSA, the individual schools of the university, and the student counseling service in order to make mental health help accessible for all students in need.

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