Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Counselling and Disability Service

FAQs

D2311-60

We realise you may have many questions to do with mental health support while studying, and we hope to answer some of these here. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below. If your question is not answered below, please contact us.

What do people say about the service?

"This is an important period where a strain on your health can adversely affect the rest of your adult life like no other. I was on the edge of dropping out or failing my degree, and thanks to the support I received during a very difficult time I am graduating with an excellent degree and my dream job in the city. My life, and more importantly my perspective, has changed completely thanks to the support I received at the centre. It is hard to believe that only two years ago I was in a very dark and difficult place and now I am facing a world of possibility. Do not let yourself fail because you had a particularly difficult time or even a mental illness. The university wants to support you through these difficulties because they recognize that you are capable of more if you just get some support, so please let them help you demonstrate your best."
 
"It took me a year to get in contact with the MHST because I really didn't think they would be able to do anything practical that would be able to help me. It all seemed a bit pointless and hopeless. This view couldn't have been much further from the truth! I have been impressed by the range, creativeness and sheer efficiency of the measures that have been put in place to help me with my studies. So my advice to other students would be to go to the MHST asap!"
 
"The services I have access to have made it possible for me to develop methods of study and strategies to cope with depression and other issues so that I am able to continue with my degree course, thank you."
 
"If you feel you are struggling, it is well worth your time to introduce yourself to the team, they are warm, friendly and committed to helping you with any situation you find yourself in, and can offer great support and guidance."
 
"Students need to be made aware of the full extent of services out there that they are entitled to. It took me 3 years to realise I could get a whole variety of support besides what I had first been told about."
 
"I would encourage anyone who struggles with mental health issues to contact the mental health team, there may be a certain reluctance due to the fears about being judged...but it is so discreet and flexible that worries like this can be forgotten and the benefits can be reached.  It's nothing to be ashamed or worried about, the people working with you are there to support you in all sorts of difficulties."
 
"Don't not hesitate to contact the MHST. It is an non-invasive experience and even though the initial session can be nerve racking, it is a very rewarding experience and has helped me tremendously to work through my issues instead of leaving university to escape them."
 
"Nothing short of an indispensable service. I believe the service itself is outstanding. Mental health is a sensitive issue and students may hesitate to use such services, as I did in my first year."
 
"I had the pleasure of meeting the Team who were very friendly and easy to approach."
 
"I cannot speak highly enough of the support I have received from the Team throughout my studies at Loughborough University so far. I have been offered great advice. I felt that the Team has been very proactive and offers me full support. Thank you very much."
 
"I accessed support for most of my university career, and it has given me the tools I needed to make the most of my acedemic ability which was hampered by my mental health difficulties. It provided an opportunity to work through issues to find a working solution, and helped me access other services (like the counselling service) to deal with deeper problems that cannot be solved overnight. Since my problems are recurring, I was able to plan ahead for those times when depression or motivation issues became a problem, and reduce any impact this had on my studies."
 
"This service is particularly useful for students using the counselling service too. It allowed me to separate the emotional (counselling) from the more practical and kept my focus on what was important at university while allowing me to deal with baggage from before university in counselling."
 
"I am especially grateful to the Team for the tremendous support given during my time so far at Loughborough. From helping me see the more realistic situation on the ground to encouraging me to persevere through my setbacks and celebrating my triumphs, the Team has really been a jewel at Loughborough University. I could not have had a successful time at Loughborough without them. Thanks to the Team and to the University for making it possible!"
 
"I would advise an student with mental health difficulties to not avoid using this service as without it i am sure i would have dropped out of university within the first term as i would not have coped without my adviser."
 
"I would wholeheartedly recommend Loughborough University as a whole, and especially so for students experiencing mental health difficulties."

Are there other students with mental health difficulties at Loughborough University?

According to some sources, approximately 1 in 6 people in any given week experience a mental health difficulty, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health difficulty at some point in their lives, and 1 in 3 people experience a panic attack. Based on the fact that there are approximately 17,000 students at the University, it is highly likely that there are significant numbers of students on your course who experience similar problems. However, experiencing a mental health difficulty can often make someone feel alone and different from “everyone else”.

The Mental Health Support Team, in conjunction with students and the Loughborough University Development Trust, set up a student-led group called HeadsUp! who aim to promote positive mental health and well-being in the students of Loughborough. The successes of HeadsUp! reflect the importance of the issues to many students at the University, and a shift towards a more inclusive understanding of mental health as important to us all. You canstay in touch with HeadsUp! on Facebook.

I just want some information about mental health issues or concerns students face…

The University hosts a Health and Wellbeing website which holds a lot of information about a variety of health and mental health topics. You may also wish to look at the LAMP website which gives further information about mental health in the wider, local community. The library has also created a virtual self-help library of books available for you to borrow as well as the "Reading Well" Books on Prescription titles (self-help reading based on cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of common mental health conditions including anxiety and depression). Students are also welcome to visit our offices during our opening hours to pick up information on a variety of mental health topics.

Is the support only for people who have serious emotional problems?

University work can be stressful at times or a student’s usual ways of handling problems don’t work as well as previously for some reason. The Team focus on assessing and identifying the individual support needs of each student; some students will require more support than others, but the emphasis is on what will work best for each individual. Being clear about the particular issues that are a problem for you, prior to contacting the Team, will help us be more effective.

I’m already getting regular support from other people. Can I still make an appointment with the Team?

We have a clear and respectful appreciation of the value and necessity of services and relationships when they form part of a comprehensive and holistic response to emotional and mental distress. If you’ve had a look at how we could help, and feel we can, then do get in touch.

If you are already using another Student Service, it can be beneficial for services to work collaboratively to support you.

Should I declare that I have a mental health difficulty?

Some students worry that they could be disadvantaged if they declare a mental health difficulty, but there is legislation to protect you from this sort of discrimination. Loughborough University will not discriminate against you on the grounds that you have a mental health difficulty. Instead, the University seeks this sort of information to try and ensure it is providing an inclusive environment, the best support, and appropriate advice to students.


If I disclose a mental health difficulty, will everybody at the University get to know about it?

No; personal, sensitive information, such as that relating to mental health, will be treated in confidence by all staff at the University. Find out more about our approach to Information Sharing».

I have been signposted or referred to the Team, or would like to refer myself. What can I expect to happen?

When we receive enquiries or referrals, a member of the Team will respond as soon as we are able. This may just necessitate a quick telephone call or email correspondence, depending on the way in which you contact us initially. We will usually invite you to meet with a member of the Team, as this is the most effective way of working together.

Meetings are usually pre-arranged, as demand for support is high. For the first meeting with us, it is usually best to set aside an hour to provide sufficient opportunity to talk through any specific support needs you feel you may have, provide an opportunity for us to alert you to the range of support or arrangements that may potentially be available, and refer you to other specialist services as necessary. The length of subsequent meetings is variable.

Is there anything I should consider prior to meeting with you?

Doing so would certainly help bring a focus to what you would like support with, as well as how you would like to achieve this. You might like to consider the following:

  • Identify some of the particular difficulties you experience and how these can lead to practical issues. You may find you have a number of immediate practical concerns; try to identify priorities.
  • What are coping strategies, self-help or support has been useful to you?
  • What are your current workloads and deadlines? How might we work together with the academic department?
  • Are there issues in halls or in accessing University services which we might work together on?
  • How might we work together with GP, therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, etc?
  • If you take medication or access therapy, does this have an impact on your ability to undertake your education?
  • How might we work together with friends or relatives?

Please note: Although we can facilitate access to counselling, specialist therapy, medical diagnosis or psychiatry, we do not provide these services. We are also not in a position to provide Impaired Performance letters where you have had little or no contact with us on which to base a supporting statement, except in rare circumstances. Find out more about CDS policy on supporting evidence for Impaired Performance Claims».

Will this mean I get ongoing support from the Team?

An initial appointment aims to help in jointly identify your support needs. If it is apparent that there are likely to be ongoing practical difficulties, or specific advice is likely to be needed regarding managing the impact of your difficulties on your studies, then ongoing support may be offered.

If other services are better placed to support you, we will advise you about this and, if necessary, refer you to them (for example, to the Counselling Service).

 

Will my discussions with the Team be confidential?

Yes; your situation may be discussed within the Team’s organisational structure, to ensure the safe and efficient running of the service and to help plan the most appropriate assistance.

Do you keep records?

We keep a record of the contact we have with or about students to help us remember what we have been doing and plan future work. We also keep copies of letters and e-mails we receive in connection with the support provided. These are entirely separate from medical records. Find out more about how information you provide is used».

Will the Team ever pass information on?

The Team may be able to provide more appropriate and effective support through liaison with University colleagues or external agencies; before doing so, we would seek your permission. Occasions where this has occurred have included:

  • Feedback to the Head of Counselling and Disability Service or Director of Student Services on emerging issues related to individual casework.
  • Liaison with other members of Student Services. e.g. Counselling service.
  • Making arrangements with identified members of staff for a specific purpose.
  • Consultation with an identified member of academic staff to assist them in understanding the academic impact of your mental health difficulties.
  • Liaison with external agencies to ensure that students receive appropriate care and treatment.

In our communication with others, your difficulties will be treated sensitively and not under- or over-represented, so that the recipients’ perception of the issues they need to be aware of reflects as accurately as possible the actual circumstances.

I’m having a lot of problems with my course. Can the Team help?

If the reasons for these study-related problems are related to high levels of emotional burden or mental health difficulties, and you want to work on developing practical strategies to overcome the obstacles, then we may be able to help.

We can identify the barriers to your progression and, if appropriate, assist you in developing practical strategies to deal with them. We can also help you realistically appraise your progression and help develop a plan to help this. If part of this plan is to take time out from your studies or to withdraw from your course, the Team can help you do this.

Are there additional resources I could use?

Yes; you might be interested to know of the Disabled Students’ Allowance, which is a non-means tested grant intended to provide funding for students experiencing mental health difficulties who incur (or are likely to incur) extra costs as a result of undertaking a course of Higher Education. Please take a look at our leaflet on Mental Health Difficulties and the DSA.

I would like to get involved in mental health promotion on campus or help make some other positive changes. How can I do this?

Great news! We are always wanting to hear good suggestions. You may like to join the HeadsUp! student-led mental health group, initially set up in conjunction with the Team and using the Loughborough University Development Trust's support. HeadsUp!'s aim is to promote positive mental health and well-being in the students of Loughborough. In the past few years HeadsUp! has been gaining notoriety on campus, so much so that in 2013 they earned both a highly-commended award for the 'Friends of Welfare and Diversity Award' and the 'Action Project of the Year Award', thanks to the help of their amazing volunteers.

As a group that comes under both the Welfare and Diversity and the Action sections of the University, HeadsUp! offers a variety of opportunities for their members. For those interested in campaigning and volunteering, they offer students the ability to go out into the wider campus community and promote positive mental health. Other opportunities include getting involved in campus life by hosting social events and workshops which are aimed at all students. HeadsUp! are a very open group, so whether you have mental health difficulties or not, they have a position for you. You can stay in touch with HeadsUp! on Facebook.

Another key aspect of mental health promotion on campus is the annual University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day. Both HeadsUp! and the Student Union Exec work towards this, so please contact them about plans for the coming year. Some background information about UMHAWD is available here.

What sort of health care provision is there locally?

The Team work alongside any health care provision you have. Most of this is organised/arranged by geographical location. When you arrive at the University you will usually be required to register with the University Medical Centre (conveniently located in the middle of campus). This will mean that any medical or therapeutic services available through the Medical Centre would be available for you while studying.

If you have health care provision elsewhere (Therapist, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Psychiatrist, etc) you may wish to consider how they can support your transition to/from Loughborough, and what provision can be made when you return home during the holiday periods.

Similarly, if you or your health care provider believes that you would benefit from continued support from services in Leicestershire (ie. Community Mental Health Team, Eating Disorders Unit), please contact the Medical Centre and those services directly.

Find out more about North Charnwood Community Mental Health Team, Eating Disorders Services and other local NHS services»  

Referrals to health care services can take several weeks, so it may be worthwhile doing this early in the academic year.

I do not wish to disclose or wish to access support...

There is no requirement for you to disclose that you experience mental health difficulties, unless you are undertaking a course leading to a professional qualification, such as teaching, where you are required to complete an Occupational Health questionnaire.

Disclosing to the University is also not necessary for you to consider applying for the Disabled Students Allowance, although it is likely that the Mental Health Support Team will be contacted about this at some stage in the process.

Likewise, there is no obligation to make use of support.

However, if you have support needs and you have not informed the relevant people or made use of the support offered to you, the University may not be able to meet those needs effectively. 

I have a question about drug and alcohol misuse

You can find further information about drug and alcohol use on the Talk To Frank website, here... www.talktofrank.com ...and from the University's Health and Wellbeing website here... www.lboro.ac.uk/service/health-wellbeing/students

If you have a combined drug misuse and mental health problem, you may need to access services for "dual diagnosis". Addressing a dual diagnosis usually involves an individualised care package, rather than two separate services (one for mental health, and one for substance misuse).

To get help with a dual diagnosis, you can contact your GP (or Community Mental Health Team), Swanswell, and seek advice with regards your studies from the University's Mental Health Support Team.

Missed or cancelled appointments

There is a high demand for mental health support, so it is important that you make it a priority to attend appointments.

The Team have a waiting list for first appointments with us, so if you do not attend your first appointment, you will have missed your opportunity and will need to re-book. This will clearly mean an additional delay in accessing our help.

With regards support provided after the first appointment, it is also important that you make it a priority to attend. We will have arranged our diaries around your commitments to provide support, but do understand that there may be occassions where you need to cancel your appointment with us. Please do give as much notice as possible so we can provide support to other students.

However, if you frequently miss appointments with us, we are not really offering a service to you and ultimately, support may be withdrawn. If your access to support is affected by your difficulties, please discuss this with us.

 

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Opening times

Monday – Friday
09.30 to 16.30

Contact Us

Mental Health Support Team

01509 228338

Urgent Help

We do not provide out-of-hours crisis support and in such a situation you should contact healthcare services

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