October marks Black History Month and, while this is a celebration of Black culture, we also recognise that there may be specific challenges faced by Black students at LSE. We would like to provide some information on support systems available, including services bespoke to Black students, as well as services accessible by the whole LSE student body, to help you, your friends and course mates, feel welcomed in the LSE community.
LSE STUDENTS' UNION HELP
LSESU is run by students, for students. Our goal is to support you through your time at LSE via a range of methods including developing social communities, hosting events and providing an opportunity for campaigns and projects to drive change. The SU is comprised of a number of student representatives who are elected by you and your fellow students to act on your behalf and improve student experience in a wide range of areas. The BME Officer and the soon to be elected Anti-Racism Officer will be best placed to support and represent you if you are facing issues specific to your experience as a Black student.
We also have four full-time Sabbatical Officers who cover different areas of student support: General Secretary, Community and Welfare, Education and Activities and Development who will be more than happy to support you in any way they can.
LSESU also runs the BME Mentoring Scheme which connects LSE alumni from the BME community to current LSE students with the aim of sharing knowledge and experiences to help provide suggestions about your career trajectory. Mentee applications open on the 25th October and close on the 15th November.
LSESU Advice Team
Our advisers in the LSESU Advice Service can speak about any concerns you may have throughout your time at LSE. LSESU Advice Team provides confidential advice and signposts to useful resources and services, available for students at LSE. We also administer the Hardship Fund which can provide financial support to students who are facing difficulties affording their basic living expenses as a result of unexpected circumstances.
LSE is committed to equality. Whether from a fellow student or a member of staff, if you experience racial discrimination while at LSE, there are people trained to support you through this. There are a number of Safe Contacts at LSE, who are trained staff volunteers across the school who can provide confidential support to any student who has experienced bullying, harassment or sexual violence. You can choose to report instances of concern via the Report It, Stop It tool, either anonymously or by providing your contact details for future reference. The LSESU Advice Team can also help guide you through the support opportunities and seek an outcome that makes you feel safe and respected.
The School Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy can be found here and the Complaints procedure here. Both of these documents are useful sources of information, they are however, quite lengthy so if you would like to discuss them in more detail or would like some clarity, our Advisers in the LSESU Advice Service can help you navigate them.
LSE Student Counselling Service
LSE has a number of trained professional counsellors who work in the LSE Student Counselling Service. They offer a private and confidential space where you can discuss any concerns with your mental health and personal life. They currently operate remotely due to Covid-19. They can provide up to six free sessions. There is also an outside of hours service available here. They also organise a range of workshops throughout the year on topics like anxiety and mindfulness.
All of the above services operate in a confidential manner; however, you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone external to the school.
Mind, the mental health charity, has published some support tips specifically for BAME students.
The National Union of Students (NUS) Black Students’ Network represents students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean heritage. The network supports issues affecting Black students on a local, national and international level.
Black People Talk has a series online mental health workshops designed, developed, and delivered by Black students, for Black students.
There are also a range of charities who specialise in other specific issues, such as suicide prevention, carers, alcohol/substance abuse, mental health, sexual violence or more. The NHS has a useful list of these here.
Every support service operates within a confidential framework. This means that anything discussed remains private and is not shared with anyone outside of the service (such as your department or family) without your consent. The only exception to this is if there is if something of an exceptional nature is disclosed, such as if there is a concern that there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or other people.
Blog written by Declan Katwala.
Declan is the LSESU Advice Service Manager.
The LSESU Advice Team
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Our service is currently operating using a hybrid working pattern. We are still open and can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.