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University of Bath

How to get a counselling and mental health assessment

Find out about booking an initial consultation with the Counselling and Mental Health team and what to expect from your appointment.

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In your initial consultation, you'll discuss what further support you might need

Who is an initial consultation for?

If you’re struggling with emotional difficulties like anxiety or low mood and think you’d benefit from some confidential mental health support, you can book an initial consultation (sometimes known as an assessment).

If you’re not sure you need an initial consultation or if you need to talk to someone soon, including to discuss the impact on you of the coronavirus outbreak, you could contact one of the University's Wellbeing Advisers instead. They can help and advise on all kinds of wellbeing and welfare issues.

How to book an initial consultation

Due to the current coronavirus situation, we are offering our services - including initial consultations - via video call using Microsoft Teams or by phone.

To book an initial consultation, email us at Please include your full name, University email address and mobile phone number. For your initial consultation, you'll need to be in a quiet, private place where you won't be overheard or interrupted.

What to expect from your initial consultation

One of our team will ask you what you’re struggling with and what your goals are. We’ll also ask some questions to establish whether you are at risk.

During the appointment, we’ll talk to you about the kinds of help that are most likely to meet your needs and we’ll agree next steps with you. For instance, we might recommend that you:

  • undertake some guided self-help
  • take part in one of our range of free workshops and courses
  • work with one of our counsellors or cognitive behavioural therapists
  • work with our team of Mental Health Advisers
  • seek support from a service outside the University.

Access to some services outside the University is limited during the coronavirus outbreak.

What is counselling?

Counselling may involve talking about your feelings, thoughts and ways of behaving as well as your life experiences and relationships. The counsellor will listen and try to understand 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. Instead, it is an opportunity to explore your feelings, understand yourself better and discover what lies behind whatever seems troubling or confusing.

Counselling can help with making decisions or changes that allow you to resolve your situation or cope better with it.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

During times of mental distress, our thoughts can become extreme and unhelpful. This can worsen how we feel and cause us to behave in ways that prolong our distress.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) practitioners help people identify and change their extreme thinking and unhelpful behaviour. The result is often a major improvement in how people feel and act.

What is a Mental Health Adviser?

Our Mental Health Advisers offer assessments and care management plans to students who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties, such as significant mood disorders, psychosis, eating disorders and substance misuse.

Our advisers work one-on-one, using a solution-focused approach to promote coping and self-management. When it’s more appropriate for treatment to be offered by services outside the University, advisers will signpost you to these agencies and liaise with them as necessary.