December 18, 2020
The Student Council challenges the government to fully fund the subsidy for psychological services
The pandemic has weighed heavily on students and it is understandably difficult for many to study free from worry. Learning difficulties may increase and students’ mental health may take a hit. The results of the Student Council’s survey from the 9th – 16th of October were an indication that 67% of students do not feel well in the situation due to the pandemic and 72% of them were experiencing a lot of stress that they thought would affect their academic progress. The results of the Council’s first survey from 22nd of March showed that 54% of Icelandic students felt that they experienced a great deal of stress, as did 42% of international students, and 53.1% said that this would have an impact on academic progress.
It is therefore clear that the situation has been difficult, persistent and even worsening. Since September, waiting lists for psychological services at the University of Iceland have been increasing considerably compared to other years. The demand has been enormous throughout the fall semester and beyond the ability to meet it. Due to this, it is not possible to accept more requests for individual interviews with the school’s psychologists, which are three.
The number of students at the University has increased by over 2,000 this semester and students are now 15,000, which is a record number. The numbers are growing rapidly, the University has received twice as many applications for next spring. It must be possible to service this large number, and the government’s involvement is a key factor, with secure funding that is conducive to strengthening the University’s services permanently.
The Student Council has advocated for improved mental health services throughout the epidemic and urged the government to consider carefully the welfare of students. In its capacity, the Council has had five surveys that shed light on the position of students and strengthen its advocacy. It is therefore very disappointing that students are still excluded and that it does not look like there will be any emphasis on providing students, and all people, with acceptable and important mental health services, which may never have been as necessary as they are right now. It is completely unacceptable and the Student Council hereby challenges the government to keep its promises.