by Aishlin Hennigan
THE amount of session ‘non-attendance’ for the counselling service in University of Limerick (UL) decreased when remote learning came into practice in March 2020.
The percentage non-attendance appointments dropped from 25 percent to 5 percent throughout the March to May period.
Dr. Rachel Glennon the Assistant Psychologist at Éist Student Counselling & Wellbeing Service said: “This highlights the value of sessions to students throughout a time of crisis.”
The use of the counselling service also decreased slightly last year, from 1,074 students accessing the service in the academic year 2018/19 to 966 students availing of it in the academic year 2019/20.
Dr. Glennon said: “This does not necessarily mean that there was a reduced need for mental health services during the pandemic.”
She explained the decrease may have happened because the service moved online and this was a change for students who were unfamiliar to this method of delivery, which meant less people were organising the “drop-in” service.
She also stated it could have been caused by stress being temporarily lifted as a result of moving home, having online exams, and more focus on continuous assessment which some students might have preferred.
Speaking to a student who used the counselling service during this time said it was beneficial knowing there was someone they could talk to.
They explained they had felt selfish for feeling anxious, nervous, and as though they had “lost everything overnight” after moving home.
They stated: “It was really nice to talk to someone who reassured you and understood you.”