Who is an initial consultation for?
If you’re struggling and think you’d benefit from some confidential mental health support, an initial consultation will help you understand the options and identify what you might find helpful.
Whether you already know what you need or are not sure where to start, the initial consultation can help you develop a plan to start tackling your difficulties.
What to expect from an initial consultation
We are currently offering initial consultations online via Microsoft Teams. For an online initial consultation, you'll need to be somewhere quiet and private where you won't be overheard or interrupted.
Before the initial consultation, you’ll need to fill out a brief questionnaire that asks about your wellbeing.
You'll then meet with one of the University's Wellbeing Advisers for about 30-45 minutes.
We'll ask you about your difficulties and explore with you what you would like to change. We’ll also check out with you whether you are at risk in any way.
During the appointment, we’ll discuss the support options that are most likely to meet your needs and agree a plan with you to help you move forward. For instance, we might recommend that you:
- explore self-help resources, such as apps, websites or books
- sign up for one of our workshops or courses
- work with one of the University's counsellors
- meet with one of the University’s Mental Health Advisers
- seek support from a service outside the University.
If you and the adviser agree that one-to-one support or one of our courses or workshops is likely to be most helpful, the adviser will discuss your needs with colleagues to make sure that what we offer fits your circumstances and needs. You'll get an email within two days confirming the next steps. This will include a more in-depth questionnaire for you to complete.
If you are referred for counselling, you can request to speak to a male or female counsellor, a BAME counsellor or a counsellor with additional training in LGBTQ+ related issues. We will do our best to accommodate these preferences where possible, either within our on-campus team, who are skilled in working with students of all identities, or by working with one of our partner organisations. You will be able to express your preference as part of your initial consultation.
What is counselling?
Counselling may involve discussing your feelings, thoughts and how these influence your behaviour, as well as your life experiences and relationships. Your counsellor will listen and try to understand in a non-judgmental way. Sometimes your counsellor may gently challenge you, but will always respect your values, choices and lifestyle.
Counselling is not about offering advice. Nor is it a friendly chat. It is a chance to explore your emotions and experiences, understand yourself better and discover what lies behind whatever is troubling you or is keeping the difficulty going. It can help you make progress towards your goals.
To get the best out of counselling, it’s important you have a clear idea of what you would like to be different. You'll also need the time and motivation to attend regular sessions and to do some work between sessions to make positive changes.
Most counselling is currrently being done online via Microsoft Teams, although face-to-face sessions may also be offered. The decision on whether you meet your counsellor online or face to face will be based on your circumstances as well as staff and room availability.
What is a Mental Health Adviser?
Our Mental Health Advisers are qualified and registered mental health professionals such as registered mental health nurses.
We support students with moderate to severe mental health difficulties such as mood or eating disorders, psychosis, complex trauma and significant emotional dysregulation. Depending on your needs, you may be offered a short-term course of regular sessions or less frequent appointments over a longer period.
We offer detailed mental health assessments as well as short-term interventions to help you create plans for safety management, coping or relapse prevention and develop skills to manage overwhelming emotions or distressing symptoms.
For students with long-term mental health needs, we aim to help you to get the best from your University experience and develop your confidence and independence in managing your mental health. To do this, we can plan and co-ordinate support within the University, including collaborating with academic departments. Where appropriate, we may liaise with external agencies or signpost you to specialist support from NHS services.
We can offer support at any stage of a student's journey, including pre-arrival or if you are returning from suspense.
What are courses and workshops?
We offer a range of courses and one-off workshops to help you manage and overcome mental health difficulties and develop your emotional wellbeing.
You’ll be introduced to new ideas that can change how you think about your problems and you’ll learn new skills for building resilience and wellbeing. This can help you overcome whatever is holding you back so you can get on with doing what matters to you.
You’ll also have the chance to connect with others who are having their own difficulties. You can choose to take part in discussions. Some people find that asking questions and sharing experiences is helpful. But this is optional; it’s up to you how much you say.
All participants are asked to respect confidentiality. This helps create a safe space in which you can be yourself.
All our workshops and courses are free to attend.
Book an initial consultation
You can book an initial consultation online via MySkills. Alternatively you can call the Student Services helpdesk on 01225 383838. This phone number is staffed from 9.30am to 4.30pm on weekdays. If you call outside these hours, please leave a message with your name and contact details and one of the team will get back to you.