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Earlier this year, a phenomenal 2000 students signed the union’s petition calling for increased funding for Student Psychological Services - recognizing the service’s obscene waiting list and the fact that as much as a third of those register with SPS never receive any support at all.

Unfortunately, the university has refused to listen. Despite carrying out a tokenistic ‘review’ of its mental health services in response to student pressure, management have consistently avoided sharing its findings with the union and have refused to commit even a single penny in additional funding for SPS.

This can’t go on. UCL has a turnover exceeding £1.3 billion per year, with the Provost alone earning substantially more than the money we estimate would be needed to properly fund our mental health services.

In addition, the Cheese Grater recently revealed that 196 staff members at UCL earn over £140,000 per year - not including bonuses and other perks. Do the maths; less than 1% of UCL’s 11,000 staff members take home perhaps £40,000,000 of our academic community’s wealth. Yet apparently we don’t have the money to fund healthcare for students.

There’s a deep, structural inequality at the very core of how UCL operates, and it has to be challenged.

On World Mental Health Day this Tuesday, as UCL Student Support and Wellbeing hosted ‘therapy dogs’ in the main quad and advised students to ‘be mindful’ and ‘keep active’ supposedly to tackle anxiety, around thirty of us protested by dropping a banner calling on UCL to increase funding for SPS. We need real healthcare, not just puppy rooms!

But the banner drop is, naturally, only the beginning.

Come along to the launch meeting of the campaign on Wednesday 18th October at 6pm in Physics building Lecture Theatre A1 (located on the fourth floor) and join us in the fight for better mental health provision at UCL. This is an absolutely winnable campaign – but we can only do it through students and staff working together.

I’d also encourage you to like and share our Facebook page for updates on the campaign.

I hope to see you next week!

All the best,

Mark Crawford
Postgraduate Students’ Officer