CHARLES Sturt University says its on-campus support services for students in distress are adequate following reports that undergraduates had to counsel a suicidal student themselves because they couldn't find anyone to help.
The incident is believed to have occurred late in March.
A person claiming knowledge of the incident contacted the Advocate to express concern that job cuts under the university's Sustainable Futures program had led to a lack of support services.
There have been two rounds of redundancies and a third round announced last month under cost-cutting measures central to the university's attempt to soften its $49.5 million forecast deficit by the end of 2021.
The person who contacted The Advocate, who asked not to be identified, said Bathurst campus had eight counsellors before the Sustainable Futures program, but now had one, and there was a shortage of residential advisers (RA) for on-campus accommodation.
The university, however, says it has maintained its number of counsellors and has pointed to a number of ways in which on-campus support is available to students in distress.
"Charles Sturt University has maintained its number of counsellors through the Sustainable Futures program and has increased support services available to students in Bathurst," a spokesperson said.
"The university has introduced additional immediate support for students in distress or experiencing suicidal ideation.
"In November 2020 we introduced the Charles Sturt After-Hours Crisis Line, which is available to all students 5pm-9am weeknights and 24/7 on weekends and public holidays.
"We also have a daytime Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Line from 8.30am-5pm on weekdays.
"These services are extensions of student counselling services and provide immediate access to support for students as required."
The Advocate understands the students who recently tried to raise the alarm about their distressed fellow student were unable to contact anyone on the campus for assistance and had to stay up all night with the student.
The university spokesperson said there would be no comment on any specific incidents out of respect for those involved, but it was "offering all possible support to students and staff involved".
They also said there was no shortage of Residential Leaders living onsite.
"The Residential Leaders, along with other Division of Student Services staff, play an active role in supporting students who live in a Charles Sturt University residence to ensure their safety and well-being."
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