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Explanation

Consultants have proposed that firstly, the university wellbeing group be no longer run by Sally Smith and Ellie Horton. They would be instead run by the Students' Union. Sally Smith has great knowledge of mental health and is a trained nurse. If a student has a medical crisis due to mental heath, she is able to offer support that could be life saving. Ellie Horton has knowledge of ASD support for mental health. Autistic students need different mental health care and techniques to non autistic students, her knowledge is vital for many autistic students like me. I believe that a Students' Union led wellbeing group, as it would lack their skills, would vastly reduce the support the group can offer. It would leave many students including me with the increased possibility of dropping out due to a lack of support for mental health. Secondly, it has been proposed that to access drop in services, students must fill in an online form. This would present a barrier to many dyslexic, autistic and mentally ill students. Forms would increase stress for ASD students, or for those in the grip of depression be one more difficult barrier to recovery. I believe there needs to be significant student input, or the proposed changes will reduce wellbeing care in the university.

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Adeeb Ali
2:36pm on 22 Aug 19 The wellbeing drop-ins were initially in place for students with mental health and Autism difficulties; however, over time students of a variety of disabilities and specific learning difficulties (SpLD) were encouraged to make use of these open session drop-ins as the service is run by a qualified team. Wellbeing drop-in sessions are not always mental health related, they are student dependent based on complexity. It is therefore important for decision makers to note, the Students Union may not have the relevant skills and or experience to deal with a variety of disability related matters. Providing closed service drop-in sessions, where one must fill out a form in a crisis situation, from a worse case scenario maybe the difference of life and death. It is in fact placing a barrier in front of students who are in need of support. Furthermore, one who accesses medical support outside HE via their local GP is never put in a position to fill out an attendance form. Therefore putting this newly proposed idea in context would dramatically reduce the numbers of students utilising the service. Having been a regular participant of the ‘D/deaf hard of hearing and Visually impaired’ as well as the ‘Mental Health’ forums, the department were due to expand the open drop-ins service next academic year to accommodate for D/deaf students to attend as their wellbeing is just as important. In summary it is my professional opinion the drop-ins should be left open and should continue to be run by the qualified wellbeing team. Handing the service over to the Students Union would only complicate the process and also bring in an element of the new data protection legislation as the Students Union advertise themselves as an independent body from the rest of the University.