Universities say they lack resources to cope with mental health support


Shaun Robinson from the Mental Health Foundation said the tertiary sector has been caught short by the increase in demand for mental heath support.

“I just think it’s been sort of left flat footed in terms of its response and it’s not doing anywhere near enough.”

Universities NZ, which represents all eight tertiary institutions, said it has needed to boost spending on student counselling by 25 percent since 2013 – but demand keeps growing.

Chief executive Chris Whelan said it was now spending more than $18 million a year on mental health support – but there was only so much it could do without more funds.

“The university sector is now funded on a per-student basis below the rest of the OECD. We’re about 27 percent less than Australia, and only about half the funding per-student of … a country like the United States.