Keep the Universities’ Centre for Wellbeing Open to Students 24/7

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I am a student at the University of Surrey. I came to the university as an international student. When I came to England, first everything was very beautiful to me. Then and gradually, I experienced different feelings. Culture shock, being thousands of miles away from my family, studying in a different language and the academic pressure were only few examples that gave me stress. Coming from a different culture, I thought I was 'different' from others and this made me feel even more lonely. Later, and when I became aware of death of a friend who died of breast cancer at age 26 in my country, I gradually lost interest in doing things. Now, the world was not beautiful anymore. I would find myself sitting in my dark room, crying and thinking over and over about death. I wanted to be where my friend was. I was feeling very lonely to that extent that I would put names on my belongings so that I could talk to somebody/something; my iron was called Charlotte.

Many times when I felt lonely and needed to talk to someone, when my disturbing thoughts were in my head the centre for wellbeing at my university was CLOSED; during the evenings and when I felt the loneliest, when the lectures had finished and students around me had gone, the centre for wellbeing was CLOSED. During the weekends, when I needed to talk to someone, the centre for wellbeing at my university was CLOSED. If I was lucky to make an appointment during the day, the appointment would usually be for next week. This is while my disturbing thoughts were about seconds!

loneliness is linked to depression and depression is linked to suicide. I have raised my concerns to the university for several times but this is the response I have received:

"The Centre for Wellbeing is not an emergency service and is not available on a 24/7"

It seems to my university a service should only be an emergency to run 24/7; this is while the library at my university -which is not an emergency service- runs 24/7; this is while even different McDonald's in London are 24/7! Every year, universities charge a lot. At the same time suicide is not an unfamiliar issue at many universities. Providing a 24/7 mental health support is the LEAST that universities can do to make sure the wellbeing of their students are considered.

Please help me to change the way universities think about the centres for wellbeing. Centre for wellbeing is not a 'favour' from your university; it is the students' RIGHT. It is the LEAST that any university can do to make sure of their students' wellbeing. With the hope no other student calls their iron Charlotte. 


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