The University of York has revealed to York Vision that it plans on giving £2 million to Open Door and Disability Services next year.
This represents an almost fourfold increase over the last couple of years, with £521,000 given to Open Door and Disability Services in 2018/19.
The amount of money spent on Open Door and Disability Services has been increasing steadily since at least 2014, but the University’s latest pledge makes it one of the largest known budget hikes for a University department or service.
A University spokesperson told Vision: “promoting positive physical and mental health is an important responsibility for universities, but also society as a whole, and we remain committed to investing in this vital area for our students.”
A 2016 report on student mental health by the University pointed out that the number of students declaring a mental health condition have been increasing.
The report also revealed that half of all ambulances called out to the University of York were for incidents of self harm or suicide attempts.
The Independent reported that the proportion of emergency calls of this kind had been growing each year.
While the funding increase for the mental health and disability support services will be welcomed by many, others weren’t so impressed; Rowan Casey, one of YUSU’s Disabled Students Officers, told Vision: “the funding is a step in the right direction. Too long have these services been starved for money jeopardising student wellbeing. However, it is not enough; the building is still not suitable for wheelchairs and inaccessible in other ways. What good is a service if the building can’t be used?”.
It is currently unclear how Open Door and Disability Services plan on spending the increased budget.
A University spokesperson said: “we are not complacent and we continue to work closely with our students, YUSU, GSA, the NHS and other partners across York and the region to ensure our students receive the appropriate help and support when they most need it.”
Featured Image: D.S. Hugh