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The Beach Magdalene College Cambridge

Student Welfare and Mental Health Fund

Magdalene has always taken great care to provide resources for student welfare, but in recent years new challenges in respect of student mental health have emerged to which the College needs to respond.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, the College, like the wider University, saw a significant rise in student demand for counselling. Across the last five years, the need for student access to professional mental-health support has increased significantly.

Changing public attitudes mean our students today are more aware of their mental health and more willing to seek help. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly had and is still having an impact on student wellbeing. The College’s Tutors supported by the College Nurse, the Chaplain and a part-time counsellor are doing their best to mitigate this. Students also have access to the University Counselling Service to which the College contributes.

However, we want to do more and need to create additional structures to foster student wellbeing and to be able to respond as effectively as possible to help those experiencing acute low points in their lives. This process requires extensive consultation, creativity and financial commitment. Students can face significant challenges from academic workload, social pressures, financial worries, and concerns about their families. Often these challenges are directly linked to early adulthood. We are already addressing the financial concerns with the top-up Bursary Scheme at Magdalene generously funded by Members and Friends, but College needs to do more now to help students build strategies to cope with stressful periods, so that they can thrive academically and enjoy their time at Magdalene; and we need to provide them with the very best professional support if crisis hits.

The Governing Body has therefore established a dedicated fund – the Student Welfare and Mental Health Fund – to raise funds to create a strengthened programme of care directed at the wellbeing and mental health of our students. This will be achieved by funding additional paid-for specialist counselling, creating a dedicated post for a Student Welfare Officer in the medium term as well as providing funding for additional resources for Tutors, staff, and students to increase awareness of mental health issues.

We feel it is vital that College has the funds available to support the mental health and wellbeing of students, and enable staff to deal with the continued fall-out from the pandemic.

This Fund will help College to widen its net of support even more to ensure that our students continue to thrive and enjoy their time at Magdalene.

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