Counselling, Health Advice & Chaplaincy: What to Expect

Illustration of mountains, by Marja de Sanctis, 2015
Illustration (Mountains) by Marja de Sanctis 2015, (MA Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts 2014)

Students at University of the Arts London who are concerned or worried about something, feeling emotional, or who just want to talk, are encouraged to contact the Counselling, Health Advice and Chaplaincy Service.

Whatever the reason for approaching the service and however big or small a problem, everyone can expect to be treated with respect and to be listened to in confidence.

At a counselling session, or a meeting with a chaplain or health adviser, students may find it difficult to explain exactly what they mean, or they might say something unexpected. The counsellors, health advisers and chaplains will be non-judgemental and patient when they listen and talk through whatever is on the student’s mind.

The service is integrated and works to ensure that students receive the right support and are signposted to other services. For example, following an initial meeting, the counsellor, health adviser or chaplain may decide it would be more appropriate for the student to be referred to another colleague in the team, or to an external service.

Students requesting a counselling or a health advice appointment for the first time will be offered a face-to-face appointment for the next available slot at a particular College or at the Student Centre at High Holborn. An immediate appointment or an appointment at very short notice may not always be available. Every effort is made to respond to email and telephone enquiries as soon as possible.

Please note that all urgent appointments are at the Student Centre at High Holborn.

Confidentiality

All contact with the counsellors, health advisers, chaplains and administrative staff is kept confidential. This includes information shared during one to one appointments, email and telephone enquiries, and details of appointment bookings. Information is not passed on to tutors, parents or anyone else without a student’s permission.

One exception to this would be if there are serious concerns that a student might harm themselves or another person. In this situation other people may need to be told, with or without the student’s consent.

For further information please read the Counselling and Health Advice Service Confidentiality Policy and the Chaplaincy Confidentiality Policy:

Record keeping

The counsellors and health advisers keep records and/or notes of the students they have contact with, on a confidential database.

These records and notes are retained for five years. They are kept completely separately from any other College records, and nobody outside the Counselling Service and Health Advice Service has access to them. 

University of the Arts London students can request access to their own notes under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, through the University’s Governance and Legal Affairs Office.

Information stored includes:

  • Demographic data: this data helps ensure that the counselling and health advice services are accessible to all students.
  • Information about the datesthat students attend sessions: this information supports the service’s ability to meet demand.
  • Brief notes recorded after each session by counsellors, health advisers and the urgent appointment team.
  • Correspondence such as letters and emails.
  • Feedback forms completed at the end of a student’s series of sessions. Statistics drawn from these forms help to ensure that the quality of service offered by the counsellors and health advisers can be continuously improved in order to meet student requirements and expectations.

The chaplains do not keep records of their meetings or discussions with students or staff.

Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances and Time Out (ECs) are situations which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond control. For example, an illness or bereavement may impact on the ability to meet a deadline, or affect the level of performance at assessment times.

Students should note that written evidence from a registered medical practitioner is required by the College Extenuating Circumstances Panel to validate an EC claim that is related to emotional wellbeing or mental health. Students should contact their doctor (GP) to obtain this.

The Counselling, Health Advice and Chaplaincy Service does not advise on how to complete Extenuating Circumstances Claim Forms, and is not able to provide the written evidence that is required to support a claim.

More information, including details of what is considered valid evidence for an EC claim is available on the Extenuating Circumstances and Time Out page. For help completing an EC claim form students should contact the UAL Students’ Union.