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Victoria University has implemented another tool to help students who are dealing with anxiety, stress, or some sort of hindrance to their mental wellbeing.
The Bubble, a space opening on Kelburn campus on 27 July, seeks to give students a break from their hectic study lifestyles and enjoy activities like arts and crafts, origami, board games, and gardening. The space will provide a “chill out zone” for students who just need time on their own to de-stress.
The Bubble is one of many initiatives developed by the University in the past two years to help ease the tensions surrounding study.
Roughly 2100 students used the Student Counselling Service last year, primarily for anxiety and depressive symptoms. These problems often arise due to academic pressures, family pressures, financial pressures, a lack of balance in life, or a mixture of a few.
This comes at a time where mental health services at the university have been criticised for their inaccessibility.
Booking an appointment to see a counsellor at university currently sees an average wait time for a meeting at three to four weeks.
“I’ve been a couple of times and just walked out,” one student told Salient.
“By the time they [could] get around to seeing me, my worry would have been dealt with myself,” the student said.
Initiatives like The Bubble, Stress Free Study Week and mental health workshops will see more access for students who need help.
In the 2014 Student Experience Survey 45 per cent of respondents reported having poor to very poor emotional wellbeing, but Student Representative on University Council Stella Blake-Kelly says it’s not just a problem at Victoria.
“Tertiary students nationally and internationally are demonstrating greater rates of poor mental health. It’s a massive challenge, and shifting attitudes is a slow process. But this University is addressing it quicker than others, and the Vice Chancellor and staff are certainly taking it seriously,” Blake-Kelly said.
“I’m very confident that statistic will come down, the first step is for students not to be afraid to ask for help when they need it. Depression and anxiety is much more common than people realise, but the student support staff at Victoria are fantastic. I certainly couldn’t have made it through without them.”