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The Counselling Service and Nurses’ Unit have donated £200 to the charity Stop the Traffik. The donation was made after they received over a hundred responses to their questionnaire about the mental health concerns for international students.
Stop the Traffik is a growing global movement fighting to prevent the sale of people, protect the trafficked and prosecute the traffickers. Set up in 2006, this organisation wants to raise awareness and understanding of human trafficking, as well as engaging with communities and professionals to create an environment where it is harder to traffic and exploit people.
Originally Stop the Traffik was set up as a two year campaign to host Freedom Day on March 25th 2007, marking the bicentenary of the abolition of transatlantic slavery. It also aimed to petition and present a million signatures to the United Nations. By the time it reached 2007, however, the organisation had a following of 1.5 million activists. Stop the Traffik then became an independent international charity that is continuing to expand.
This project was funded by UKCISA (UK Counsel for International Student Affairs), whose purpose it is to promote and facilitate international student mobility to and from the UK. Their aim is to increase support for international education and raise awareness of the benefits of studying abroad, as well as encouraging professional development and high quality support for students.
The Counselling Service and Nurses’ Unit promised to make a donation to the charity once a hundred students had filled in an online questionnaire. This questionnaire was devised by the Counselling Service aimed to enquiring about the mental health concerns of international students. The Counselling Service wanted to improve and tailored its services to suit the needs of international students.
Focus groups and literary research was also carried out in order to ascertain the specific needs of international students at Lancaster University. From this data, the Counselling Service is planning to set up a specific website for international students, focusing on the issues that matter to them.
The Counselling Service already offers one on one counselling where an extensive range of issues can be discussed in a private with a qualified counsellor. Themed groups, group therapy and wellbeing activities are some of the other service that they provide.
Nonetheless, with an increasing number of international students coming to Lancaster University, the Counselling Service wants to tackle the issues that will affect them the most. These include language barriers, acclimatising to a new culture and dealing with being away from home.
The Counselling Service and Nurses’ Unit want to thank everyone who participated in this questionnaire. They have stated that as a result, participants helped to improve the Counselling Service for international students.