Students need ongoing free counselling -AUTSA president


By David Williams (he/him)


AUT students can get up to six free counselling sessions provided by the university, but AUTSA President Sara

Youssef says that’s not enough. AUT counselling says students typically use one to three of these sessions, based on personal needs.


However, they say they are open to review if students need more support. This could mean referring them to external services like Puāwaitanga, if that would better suit their

needs. Every year, more than 1,200 students see a counsellor and it's been that way for the past three years.

However, more and more students are using all six sessions - last year saw a 50% increase. And on top of that, over 100 students used more than the six funded sessions.


Youssef says these six sessions aren’t enough - it's much better to create long term relationships with students than trying to find a quick solution. But Vice-Chancellor Damon Salesa says cost isn't the only thing limiting free counselling sessions for students. “We don’t have enough counsellors to deliver the service already - I was talking to a counsellor who says we’re already booking four or five weeks out to get a session.” He says AUT is facing the same problem as New Zealand: there are not enough mental health counsellors. However, Youssef says universities have a responsibility for the welfare of their students. To access AUT’s metal health and counselling services, email counselling@aut.ac.nz or call +64 9 921 9292.



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