Petition set up against University of East Anglia decision to close counselling courses
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Hundreds of people have signed a petition urging a university to stop the closure of its counselling courses.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) last month confirmed its plans to close its counselling programme, with five courses due to end in the next academic year.
An online petition against the move has now attracted almost 550 signatures, amid concerns that the decision will damage mental health support for students and people living in Norfolk.
Though the university has a separate counselling service, opponents say it will reduce the number of trained counsellors working in the area.
The petition also points to the fact that students on diploma courses provide free counselling services for those living on campus, and volunteer for mental health charities around the county.
It says: 'The university's decision has far-reaching implications for the lives and well being of students and staff on the university campus and also impacts on the provision of mental health care services throughout Norfolk.'
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A statement from UEA said the decision had not been 'taken lightly' and came down to a need 'for greater alignment' in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning's courses.
'With regard to concerns about the potential impact on the UEA counselling service,' it said, 'this was considered as part of the review, with the views of the director of student services and the head of wellbeing being considered as part of the decision-making process.
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'The view was that a decision to withdraw the counselling courses would not have a detrimental impact on the UEA counselling service and the support it offers students and staff. These support services are routinely reviewed and adjusted to take account of requirements and the best way of supporting these.'
The counselling centre, founded in 1992 by Brian Thorne, is also known for its research into the effectiveness of counselling therapies.
The statement said all students currently registered on a counselling course would be able to complete it.
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