Talk about mental services being cut at Victoria University has Wellington students concerned.

A flyer has been circulating the campus claiming counselling services are to be capped, meaning students could only access six sessions each year.

It also questioned a new self-referral system, which moved the register for counselling services online. A meeting has been organised for 10am Monday to address the issue.

A screenshot from earlier this year showed the university's website was edited to inform students they were able to schedule up to six counselling sessions per annum.


That section of the website has since changed again and the six session advisory has been removed.

However, Student Academic Services director Pam Thorburn said Victoria had not made cuts to its counselling service.

"We would never cut students off from receiving the counselling they require, either through accessing our services or through other counselling providers."

Thorburn said counsellors had always worked to the guideline of six sessions before discussing further treatment and referrals but recognised some students had an increased need.

"We wished to be open with students about the guideline and, unfortunately, this was presented as a limit or set quota when it is not. Needs are assessed on a case-by-case basis."

Thorburn said the move to online aimed to improve access and better identify the nature of students' issues.

She said on average students need no more than three to four sessions to address their issues.

Accounting and commercial law student Louise Hodges said she was not aware of the guideline until she saw complaints on Facebook.


She said the guideline could deter students from seeking help.

"It's like the university is saying, 'if we cannot help you in six sessions or under then you're abnormal because most people can change their circumstances in that period' ".

"There's an added stress of now knowing that if I have an issue I have to solve it within six sessions."

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association president Rory Lenihan-Ikin said students took mental health resources seriously.

"We need to ensure that if any changes are being made, that students are on board with it and understand what those changes are."

Lenihan-Ikin said he thought the university's mental health resources were stretched and students could wait up to 6 weeks to see a counsellor.

He said students were under a lot of pressure.

"Students are doing things like working a lot more, studying part time in order to have enough money to live week to week and therefore taking more time to study. Debt is increasing more and more through the student loan scheme so all of these things conflate."

Lenihan-Ikin said student health and counselling staff have agreed to sit down with students to hear their concerns, and talk about services on offer.