An increasing number of students are deciding to reach out to their tutors for help related to mental health as opposed to the counsellors at Massey University.
The counselling services are understaffed due to underfunding, which is causing a great impact on both students and tutors.
One tutor in particular, who wishes to remain anonymous, was feeling overwhelmed with the number of lives that were asking for her help.
Last year, she had been visited by four students. Two of them had really serious issues, to which she took upon herself to get advice from the head of school and a friend working in the psychology department.
The tutor had been told to guide her students towards the university’s counselling services, however, she realised that not every counsellor would gel with every student, and they may have to try the counsellors multiple times.
“There are so many variables,” she says.
Many of the tutor’s students had said that they had already tried the counselors but preferred the support from her.
“As a tutor, I am not equipped with how to advise or deal with this [mental health], there is a reason why you have to train for many years to be a clinical psychologist,” she said.
Along with her part-time contract, the tutor is currently writing her Ph.D. and the extra pressure to help her students required a lot of extra stress and unpaid work.
“I always tell the students that my door is open to talk if you need but, I am not trained... I’m a human being that genuinely cares that these people [the students] are in safe hands.”