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August 13, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Students to Protest in Hope that “The Wait is Over”

VUWSA has started up a new mental health campaign, “The Wait is Over”, in response to the mental health crisis and the gaps in support for students.
“The issue is waiting times,” said VUWSA president Marlon Drake. “The solution is more funding for our student counselling services.”
They are planning a protest on Parliament Lawn next Wednesday 22 August at 12pm.
Marlon said this new campaign’s ultimate goal is to provide a platform where students’ and young peoples’ voices can be heard in the discussion on mental health.
Marlon told Salient that one of the key goals of the campaign is to secure public funding for tertiary mental health services. “This would free up university funding, including levy money, which could then be used for wellbeing initiatives.”
According to People’s Mental Health Review spokesperson and psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald there has been a 60 percent increase in the amount of people needing mental health services in New Zealand since 2009.
Students appear to have been particularly afflicted in the recent mental health crisis. The Kei Te Pai? report released by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations stated that over half of students have considered dropping out, and a significant number of students experience stress, anxiety, lack of energy, and depression. The report stated that 33% students waited two weeks or more to see a counselor on campus.
Statistics of self harm incidents and suicide attempts in Victoria University’s halls have more than doubled in the last five years, from nine incidents in 2013 to 20 incidents in 2017.

However, the campaign’s goal goes beyond public funding. Marlon said that “most importantly, our community needs a culture where we can talk honestly and openly about how we feel. We have a community that cares, and this campaign will show that”.
The VUWSA team have created a “The Wait is Over” banner which allows students to add written messages of support and hope. The banner is also a place for students to voice the changes they want to see for mental health in New Zealand, “whether it be a policy, a change in how we see mental health, or just having a society where we talk to each other”.

Where to Get Help
• Free call or text 1737 anytime for support from a trained counsellor
• Safe to Talk (sexual violence) – 0800 044 334 or text 4334
• Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

• Youthline (for youth) – 0800 376 633 or free text 234

• Outline (LGBTQIA+) – 0800 688 5463
• Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
• Healthline – 0800 611 116 to talk to a registered nurse

• Samaritans – 0800 726 666
• Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757
• Anxiety New Zealand 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
• The Lowdown NZ (for youth) — free text 5626 or visit thelowdown.co.nz

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