University of Bath

How to get a counselling and mental health assessment

Find out how to book a counselling and mental health assessment and what to expect from your appointment.

Who is this service for?

If you are a student and are struggling with emotional difficulties, anxiety or low mood and feel you would benefit from some support and advice you can book a counselling and mental health assessment with us.

If you are not sure counselling is for you, or while you are waiting for your assessment, you might like to consider coming to see a Wellbeing Adviser instead. Our Advisers can give you help and advice on all wellbeing and welfare issues and are available at daily drop-ins.

What is counselling?

Counselling may involve talking about life events, feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. The counsellor will listen, empathise and respond in a non-judgmental way. Sometimes your counsellor may gently challenge you but s/he will always respect your values, choices and lifestyle.

Counselling is not about giving advice or opinions, nor is it a friendly chat with a friend but it is an opportunity to explore your feelings, help you understand yourself better and discover what lies behind whatever seems troubling or confusing. Counselling can help with making decisions, choices or changes that are right for you and may also help facilitate you finding your own solutions to resolve or cope with your situation.

What is a Mental Health Adviser?

Our mental health workers offer assessments to students who are experiencing moderate-to-severe mental health difficulties, such as significant mood disorders, psychosis, eating disorders and individuals presenting with substance misuse. They can also offer comprehensive assessment and management plans.

Following an assessment, our mental health team works one-on-one, using a solution-focused approach to develop coping strategies and self-management skills. In some cases it may be more appropriate for treatment to be offered by services outside of the University, and our mental health team will signpost you to these agencies, and liaise with them, as necessary.

How to book an assessment

Just come in to the Student Services Helpdesk in the Roper Centre in 4 West. Make sure you have your timetable with you so we can arrange an assessment when you are available. We offer appointments on campus and in the Virgil Building.

If you are unable to come in to our Helpdesk you can contact us by phone on 01225 383838 or by email. If emailing please make sure you include your full name, University email address and mobile phone number.

On the day of your assessment please come 10 minutes before the appointment time to complete clinical questionnaires before your session begins. These are a series of questions that help us to better understand your difficulties and their impact on you. They will also help inform the clinician giving the assessment.

What to expect from your assessment

The assessment appointment is an opportunity for us to better understand your difficulties and identify the most appropriate support for you according to your needs. It is not a counselling session.

Whether you have opted for telephone or face-to-face assessment, the structure will be the same.

The purpose of the assessment is to identify:

  • the reasons that have led you to seek support from us
  • your priorities
  • what you would like to achieve at the end of any support offered

The clinician will ask you a series of standard questions which are designed to help identify the priority problem and what will be most helpful in achieving your goals. They will also ask you standard questions around risk.

At the end of the assessment, the clinician will talk to you about your options, including the support available within our service and - depending on your specific needs - external services or agencies. They may also offer you self-help materials or direct you to other resources.

After the assessment, the clinician will make recommendations and may seek supervision for advice before discussing what options are available.

If you are unable to make a face-to-face assessment (for example if you are on placement), we may be able to offer a phone appointment, in which case you will need to find a quiet private place to talk.