1. What can I expect in an appointment with a welfare adviser/counsellor?
We’ve provided some detailed information about what you can expect from your appointment with a specialist:
Welfare Advice - please see the section “At your appointment” and “After your appointment”
Counselling - please see the section “What will happen at my first appointment?”
2. Can someone else book an appointment for me?
If you would like support, but you are nervous about making contact with us we have a few suggestions that might help:
- You can ask someone to accompany you if you come in to make an appointment or wait for a same-day appointment
- You can ask to speak to the frontline team somewhere private if you feel uncomfortable talking in an open area
- You can tell us you feel a bit anxious and/or nervous – we will do our best to reassure you and respond to any worries you might have about accessing our services
We understand that sometimes it can feel difficult asking for help particularly if it is to do with a very personal issue, so if there is something we can do to help just let us know.
3. Why can't I book an appointment online?
The main benefit of booking an appointment through our frontline team is that they can help you think about which service you might need. Queen Mary University of London offers a lot of specialist support covering a range of issues (A-Z of Queen Mary Student Support Services [PDF 482KB]) and sometimes we are not quite the right service to help. Even within the Advice and Counselling Service, we have various specialist staff and it can be difficult for students to know in advance exactly who they need to see.
Incorrectly booked appointments means fewer appointments available, and therefore longer waiting times. Also, often students need to speak to someone else or check other information before their appointment with us, so booking via a person rather than via an automated system helps to avoid wasted appointments. The experiences of other services that have introduced online booking is that it leads to a lot of wasted appointments, as often people don’t turn up when they book online.
We also find that when we have an opportunity to talk to you first, and find out more about your situation, we can offer you advice and information. This can provide support to you while you wait for an appointment with us, and can also help you to get the most out of your appointment.
We strive to ensure that we can offer the maximum number of appointments with the resources we have, and for the reasons mentioned we feel that our current non-automated booking system helps us to do this.
If you would like to get in touch with us online, you can fill in our enquiry form and our frontline team will get back to you via email as soon as possible.
4. I find it confusing knowing who is next to speak to the receptionist during same day appointment.
At certain times of year our waiting area can get quite busy with a large number of students waiting to obtain a same day appointment and we understand it can be difficult knowing when to approach the desk. We have avoided using a ticketing system as this could result in some students arriving too early to obtain a ticket or having someone else take a ticket on their behalf. We do our best to ensure that students are seen in the order they arrived in, but we encourage you to check how many students are ahead of you when you arrive/who arrived last so you know who you are behind.
5. Why do you need to know my GP details?
We ask all students who access our services to provide the name and address of the GP surgery where they are registered. We have to hold this information in case of emergency. It is extremely rare for us to ever need to contact a student’s GP. Sometimes, we may need to help you to access NHS services and your GP details are essential for that. For more information about our confidentiality policy, please see our policies page.
6. Why do you only offer short term counselling?
Like all universities in the UK the number of students seeking counselling increases every year. Feedback from students tells us that the most important thing is to be able to see a counsellor quickly and in order to ensure we have appointments available we are not able to offer longer term counselling. Our team of counsellors are highly skilled in helping students to gain maximum benefit from counselling and the average number of appointments attended is usually around 4. In some cases, where the difficulties are long standing or very complex and it is clear that short term counselling won’t be enough, we can help students to find longer term, free or low cost psychotherapy outside of Queen Mary University of London, or we can facilitate referrals to specialist NHS services.
After you have had your appointments, you are always able to access support again at any time during your studies if you needed to. If you return for counselling within the same academic year this may be an indication that you might need something more substantial or specialised than we can offer. In this situation we would normally meet with you to discuss the best way forward, and help you to find the help you need, possibly outside of Queen Mary.
7. Can I have counselling over the phone/via email?
Whilst we will try to make the service as accessible as possible, we are not able to routinely offer counselling by telephone or email. In exceptional situations, where students are unable to attend appointments in person (e.g. because they are away on placement, a year abroad or are too unwell to travel), we will offer a one-off telephone assessment during which we will help you to think about what you need and try to identify other kinds of support available to you locally.
If you would prefer to have support via email, the Samaritans offer this service: http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us
There are other helplines in addition to the Samaritans that offer support over the phone. For telephone helpline support for specific personal emotional issues see the Common Problems section of our website.
8. Why can't I book a counselling appointment after the next fortnight?
We only offer appointments within a fortnight to try and reduce the number of missed appointments. If appointments are booked very far in advance, our experience is that there is a higher chance of forgetting about the appointment or no longer needing it. During our busy times all of the pre-booked appointments are taken quite quickly, however you can always try and obtain a same-day appointment which runs daily from Monday – Friday during the main university term-time. For more information about accessing appointments, click here:
9. I've tried to get a same-day counselling appointment before, but they ran out very quickly...
There is a limit to the number of appointments we can offer the same day. If we offered more same day appointments we would need to reduce the number of ongoing sessions we can offer which would have a impact on the service. We understand it can feel difficult waiting for a same day appointment, feeling uncertain whether or not you will be able to obtain one, however in most cases a student will obtain an appointment sooner if they are able to try for a same day appointment more than once.