Many students find their university years particularly challenging, in which case seeking counselling help is the best thing for them to do so they can talk through their problems and find a way to cope with their depression or anxiety. If you feel like you need help to get through the next few years, read our guide on how to find counselling services while at university.
The growing strain on counselling services
Students who are finding it difficult to cope with university life, are feeling very homesick, aren’t used to such huge life changes or used to see a counsellor at home and feel isolated without their help will find it useful to seek therapy help while pursuing their studies.Indeed, Help Me Investigate reported an increase in the number of students in counselling in 2013, with 33% more seeking help since 2008.
In some universities there has been a significant rise, such as The University of Glasgow where 130% more students were in counselling in 2011/12 compared with 2008/09. This was followed by Lancaster University and The University of York, which saw 127.62% and 118.34% increases respectively.
This growth may be explained by more students being aware of university’s counselling services, as opposed to an increase in young people suffering from mental health issues.
A University of Glasgow spokesperson was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “[While] it is true that there has been a rise in the number of students seeking assistance, this may – at least in part – be due to increased awareness of the services and support that is now available.”
Finding counselling services at your university
The first place to look when searching for university services is online; most HE establishment websites have information regarding the counselling they offer, and this can help answer some important questions you have about the facility.
If you can’t find anything online, it is worth popping into your university’s student union as it will have pamphlets that will allow you to research further. Whether you take leaflets on the counselling service or read up on it online, this will help you understand more about what your university offers and help you make a decision about whether seeking therapy is the right step for you.
Universities typically offer private sessions run by professionally qualified counsellors who are trained to deal with students who have issues with anxiety, depression, bereavement, self-harming, abuse, eating problems, stress disorders and abuse.
You can usually book appointments by contacting the service and get an allocated timeslot to visit; alternatively, some universities have drop-in sessions, so you can just pop in if you have an urgent problem or don’t want to book a formal appointment.
Some universities also run counselling groups, so if you’d rather discuss your issues or talk through ways you can help handle your problems with other people going through similar things, this could be the best option for you. Students living in accommodation at The University of Bristol for instance can attend a number of different counselling groups, from a stress management one to a writing therapy session.
Students can also typically access lots of self-help information from their counselling services if you’re dealing with issues that you feel you are capable of coping with by yourself. Leaflets on exam anxiety, time management, relaxation and helping friends with depression are usually available, and simply reading up on the topic might provide you with the ability to handle your problems more easily.
Workshops are also often available, offering students tips on how they can better manage their problems such as low self-esteem or having difficulty adjusting to a different culture – something that could be particularly valuable for international students.
Once you have access to your university’s counselling services, you’ll be in a better position to choose a programme of therapy that suits you the most. After you have done this, you can be on the right track to feeling better and can begin to really enjoy your university experience free from any worries or anxiety!
Author: Natasha Al-Atassi is an ex student and know how much stress you can go through in education, whether its money troubles or assignments. She works as an active part of the student community and writes articles on student finance to where to live at University.