Cambridge students take to Facebook to discuss 'serious flaws’ in university welfare system

 

Students at Cambridge have spoken out on social media to complain about what they claim are serious flaws in the university’s welfare system.

On Facebook, increasing numbers are anonymously claiming that the university is failing to support them in the face of severe mental stress.

Inspired by the Everyday Sexism Project, the Cambridge Speaks Its Mind campaign covers topics ranging from depression to sexual assault.

One recent post on the site alleged: “During my first term here I suffered from crippling depression and was dealing with extreme thoughts of suicide.

“I sent a form into the University Counselling Service – clearly ticking the box that read ‘do you think you pose a risk of harm to yourself?’ – and they never got back to me.”

Another student wrote: “There’s very little support available, beyond seeing the UCS. Colleges don’t want the bad publicity.

"Cambridge University just doesn’t care about its students.”

The campaign began when a group of students found that they had all encountered similarly disappointing welfare support from the university and has received around 50 testimonies since it started in September.

The founder of the project told The Independent that “Cambridge Speaks Its Mind was set up after we realised we'd all had similar, negative experiences of college welfare. We wanted to raise awareness of the issues, give students a space to speak out against their treatment, and make a change.

“There's something about Cambridge that makes us normalise a certain level of misery; from day one of freshers' week, we're told that we will be stressed, we hear jokes about having break downs. We even have an unofficial title for one week of term: 'the week five blues'.

“Work comes first. If you can get the top grades in your essays, achieve something academically, then that is what is important.

“If you're ‘well’, you can be in Cambridge. If you aren't you can get lost.”

However, a university spokesperson said that “Cambridge and its colleges take student mental health very seriously”.

“Last academic year, 1,562 people were seen for counseling. This represents 8.5 per cent of the student population.

“Clients value the support that they receive as shown in the student satisfaction survey: overall, 96 per cent said that counseling had helped them deal with their difficulties, with 82% saying counseling helped ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’. “

Since it began, the Speaks Its Mind project has received messages of support from across the country, with Oxford recently setting up its own branch of the campaign.

Speaks Its Mind is also set to reach even more universities, with the campaign’s founder saying: “We're in discussion with other students around the country to help them set up Speaks Its Mind for their campus. We are not going to remain silent about this issue. If anyone wants help setting up a Speaks Its Mind project, our contact details are on our Facebook page.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

£18 - 24k OTE + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Executive ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Commercial Property Surveyor

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading firms of Cha...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Central London, Bank

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Structural Engineer

£22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A keen Graduate Structural Engineer with...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital