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Counselling & Mental Health Service FAQs

What if I can't find the answer to my question?

If you are unable to find an answer to your question on this page, please email, or call 01274 235 750 and we will endevour to answer your query as quickly as possible.

What if I've booked an appointment and can no longer attend?

Demand on our service is very high.  If you can’t attend, someone else may be able to. So please let us know as soon as possible via the contact details listed above.

What is the difference between the Mental Health Advisors and the Counselling Service?

The Counselling Service:

  • is available to all staff and students
  • offers a confidential, safe space to work with anything that’s impacting on your life
  • offers you support with a broad range of complex issues such as loss, trauma, depression etc.
  • will work with you to a clinical focus such as working towards a desired change

The Mental Health Advisors:

  • work with students with an existing or emerging mental health condition
  • provide practical information and support towards positive mental health management
  • will liaise with academic staff and other university support services where appropriate and with your consent
  • will support you with accessing DSA funding, study coaches and the putting in place of reasonable adjustments, if eligible and necessary
  • can signpost you to other services outside of the university if needed

What happens in my appointment with a Counsellor?

As there are many different types of counselling, it is difficult to describe exactly what will happen in any given counselling session. 

However, the following list provides you with some examples of how our counsellors can support you by:   

  • Offering a confidential space to talk about your worries without fear of being judged or told what to do. 
  • Helping you to identify your needs and priorities.  
  • Developing an understanding of your current difficulties.  
  • Exploring and evaluating different ways of coping.    
  • Developing plans to help you manage after our work has ended.  
  • Signposting you to other sources of information, support, and guidance. 

What happens in my appointment with a Mental Health Advisor?

The Mental Health Advisor will talk with you about your mental health condition and how it impacts on your life at university and your ability to study. They can offer you practical advice and guidance on managing your mental health which may include signposting to other services, putting in place reasonable adjustments, accessing study coaches, and exploring whether you are eligible for DSA funding. The Mental Health Advisor can also liaise with academic staff and other support services, if appropriate and with your consent, to enable you to engage with your university life as fully as possible.

Are my appointments with the Mental Health Advisor confidential?

  • Your Mental Health Advisor will talk you through our Consent to Share form.
  • You can choose to give full consent to share on a 'need to know' basis, restricted consent to share or no consent to share.
  • It is important that you understand the implications of your consent and the Mental Health Advisor will explain this in detail.
  • If your Mental Health Advisor believes there is a serious threat of harm to yourself or anyone else they may need to break confidentiality.
  • Whenever possible they would discuss this with you first.
  • You can view the Consent to Share form by visiting our policies and documents page.

Are my appointments with a Counsellor confidential?

Under normal circumstances, everything you tell your counsellor is kept confidential. 

There are, however, rare and exceptional circumstances when confidentiality can be broken, such as:  

  • Where your counsellor believes that you are at serious risk of harm to your self, at serious risk from others, or that other people are at serious risk; active child abuse; serious crime; or active terrorism. This list is not exhaustive.
  • Under such circumstances, your counsellor will try to contact you and discuss how the boundaries of confidentiality will be kept and, if necessary, extended. 
  • Counsellor's decisions are informed by the law, University policy and their professional bodies.
  • Counsellors discuss their work with an external, independent supervisor, in order to maintain ethical and professional standards and safeguard the interests of clients, and they ensure they do so in a way that protects clients’ anonymity.
  • Our counsellors will be registered or accredited members of the BACP.  As such, they follow BACP's guidance regarding confidentiality and adhere to the BACP's Ethical Framework and the professional conduct procedure. 

What is your Confidentiality Policy?  

For information about confidentiality, please read our Confidentiality Statement.

If I see a Mental Health Advisor, will my department automatically be informed? 

  • No. Departments are only informed if they need to make adjustments to support you in your studies, or you wish to make them aware of your current situation.
  • You remain in control of what information goes where and to whom.

I received extra time at college/school for past exams; will I automatically get extra time at the university? 

  • No. You will need to register with the Counselling and Mental Health Service and book an appointment with one of our Mental Health Advisors.
  • The Mental Health Advisor will discuss with you the adjustments the university can make to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in your studies once we have received evidence of your mental health diagnosis.

I need help applying for Extenuating Circumstances

If you have been struggling with your mental health or other personal issues, and have registered with the Counselling and Mental Health Service, then we may provide a letter to use as evidence to support your application for Extenuating Circumstances (ECs).   

Mental Health Advisors cannot advise you on the process for submitting ECs.  Your application for ECs should be made through e:vision.  Should you require advice about the process of applying for ECs we would direct you to your Personal Academic Tutor or Module Leader. 

For further information about the process of applying, visit the Extenuating Circumstances SharePoint page.

If you feel you may struggle to submit an assignment, we would encourage you to contact your Module Leader as soon as possible so they can provide you with the support and advice you may need.  A Mental Health Advisor can support you to reach out to your Module Leader if you are finding this difficult. 

What is the Health & Wellbeing Fitness to Study Process?

The University is committed to providing a supportive environment for learning where students are able to participate fully in their academic studies.  The University aims to provide a positive and supportive approach to the management of physical and mental health to support academic achievement and student experience.  

We recognise that, in some circumstances, students may experience difficulties or have conditions that may require additional support in order for them to meet their full potential and Mental Health Advisors may provide support in this regard.   

Find out more about the Health and Wellbeing fitness to study process

What records and information do you keep?

  • All notes and records are kept securely, in compliance with the General Data Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
  • Brief notes are kept of the sessions and are coded and kept separate from any identifying data.
  • Data kept by the service is not part of your student record. 
  • All data is securely destroyed after 7 years. 
  • We process the information you give us to enable us to provide an effective and ethical service and so that we can contact you when we need to.

Read our Privacy Notice for more information.

I'm not happy with the service. What can I do?

The Counselling and Mental Health Service aims to deal with complaints from clients in an ethical and respectful manner. Please read our Complaints Policy for detailed information about what to do next.