Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk, is backing a campaign to keep counselling training courses running at the University of East Anglia.
In April, the University announced plans to close its ‘Counselling Centre’ from September 2017. As well as providing training courses, the Centre enjoys an international reputation for its research into the effectiveness of counselling therapies.
There are concerns that the closure will have a detrimental impact on the number of trained counsellors working in Norfolk. Opponents also say that the closure will affect provision of mental health support for students at UEA, as counselling students currently provide free counselling services for those living on campus.
Mental health champion Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk, is calling on the University to reconsider the plans and keep the counselling centre running. He has written to the Vice-Chancellor, David Richardson, as well as signing an online petition that has attracted almost 1,000 signatures.
Commenting, Norman Lamb said:
“These are challenging times for universities, but I would strongly urge UEA to think again about withdrawing its prestigious training course.
“Two-thirds of Britons have experienced mental health problems, so the need for highly-skilled counsellors has never been greater. We know that counselling is highly effective in supporting recovery and preventing people from reaching crisis point. It would be a major blow for mental health provision in East Anglia and across the UK if this closure went ahead, and also for the University given the prestige of its counselling programme.
“I am also worried about the potential impact on UEA students. More students are experiencing mental ill health, but many do not receive the help they need. If less support is available, there will obviously be a knock-on effect to the NHS, as well as the increased risk of lives ruined by mental health problems if the early intervention isn’t there.”