Internal services

The University is here to support you throughout your studies – no matter the extent to which you might be suffering, we believe that you shouldn’t have to tackle it alone, and we have a variety of resources in place to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your time at university.

The following services are part of the University or Guild and are here to support your mental health and wellbeing throughout your time as a student.

Chaplaincy

The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy offers an inclusive space for prayer, meditation, relaxation and worship, among many other activities. All students are welcome to visit, regardless of whether or not you’re religious.

Click here to find out more about University of Birmingham’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy.

Check-in Service

The check-in service is run by the University of Birmingham’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, and is available to all students at the university, regardless of whether you have used any of our support services previously. The 30 minute slots provide you with the opportunity to talk to one of our psychological practitioners about your personal concerns, and to find out more about the further support and resources available to help you get the most out of your time at university.

If you are in an urgent situation, and are unsure which other resources may be the most appropriate, then the check-in service will be able to help refer you to the best source of support. However, as the check-in slots are always assigned on a first-come-first-served basis, they ought not to be your first port of call in an emergency situation.

If you are in an urgent and potentially life-threatening crisis, then you should always contact the emergency services.

Groups

Throughout the year, we offer a variety of group support sessions that run as a series over several weeks. All groups are run by experienced counsellors, and will help you explore the specific and serious challenges you’re facing, understand how they affect you, and think about strategies for managing them throughout your time as a student.

Click here for full details of how to register for groups.

Guild of Students

Guild Advice is a free, impartial and confidential advice service for students at the University of Birmingham; they’re always on hand if you need someone to talk to, and they offer practical advice on various subjects relating to student life. Advisors are available 12pm – 2pm, based in the ground floor of the Guild, and they specialise in the following issues: Academic, Housing, Finance, International Support and Wellbeing.

Click here to find out more about Guild Advice, including their contact details.

Nightline

Nightline is an anonymous, confidential, non-judgemental and non-directive listening and information service run by students, for students. They promise to listen and support you as you talk through whatever's on your mind.

You can contact Nightline via phone (0121 472 4621 - this number can be found on the back of your Student ID), email, instant-messenger, or in person at St. Francis Hall on campus. They’re available 6pm - 8am during term time for phone calls and instant messages, until midnight during term time for drop-ins, and all year round by email.

Click here to find out more about Nightline.

Personalised Support

If you’re struggling with your mental health to a serious extent, you may feel that you need to access personalised support from our specialist Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. Personalised support comes in many different forms, but all will offer you a safe and confidential space in which to explore the difficulties you may be facing and develop effective strategies to overcome them.

After registering for personalised support, your first session will be an assessment of your situation with one of our friendly counsellors or psychological practitioners, looking into your current challenges, and then deciding on the best course of support. This might involve continuing in one-to-one support, or it may include other avenues such as workshops and groups, or external services such as your GP (Doctor) might also be recomended. If you’re studying abroad, on placement, or have certain accessibility needs, then online support is also available and can be an excellent option for support.

All treatment is done with you at the forefront, aiming to support you as best as we can. Click here to find out more about registering for personalised support.

Self-help guides

Self-help guides can be an excellent option for those concerned about their mental health. Our self-help guides have been written by clinical psychologists, and provide suggestions for simple ways in which you can begin to make positive changes, tailored to a wide variety of issues.

The guides are accessible, easy to use and relatively short (20-30 pages).  Each guide is also available as an audiofile – you may find listening an easier way to access the materials, especially if you are finding it hard to concentrate on written materials.

Studies have demonstrated the positive impact that self-help materials can have on people’s lives, however, it’s important to recognise that self-help guides are not a substitute for professional support. If you're dealing with serious mental health challenges or you don't feel that things are improving, you ought to think about seeking more personalised guidance through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service or your GP.

Follow this link to access our self-help guides. 

Student Disability Service

If you’ve received a formal diagnosis from your doctor, then the Student Disability Service can offer you further support throughout your time at the University of Birmingham. This may involve developing an individual Reasonable Adjustments Plan, to ensure that you’re able to fully access teaching, learning, exams and other assessments.

Click here to find out more about the Student Disability Service, including how to register your long-term mental health condition.

Support for victims of hate crime

The University are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all. We believe that hate crime of any kind is never okay, and we will provide an effective response to anyone who reports an incident.

Click here to find out more about hate crime and how to report if you are a victim or know a victim of a hate crime.

Support for victims of sexual harassment, violence and assault

The University are here to support any student that has been affected by sexual violence. Sexual violence can take many different forms and covers a range of unwelcome sexual misconduct. Our online reporting tool provides two options: to report and speak to a trained responder, or to tell us about an incident anonymously. Our trained responders will help you explore all your options. You will be respected, listened to, and empowered to make your own decisions.

Click here to find out more information about support for sexual assault and violence.

Wellbeing Officer

Each School has their own Wellbeing Officer(s), who are able to provide practical and emotional support for you if you are experiencing personal problems, particularly when these might interfere with your academic work. They can recommend sources of professional help and, if appropriate, will guide you through the extenuating circumstances process.

Find out how and when you can contact your school’s Wellbeing Officer(s).

Workshops

Throughout the year, we offer a variety of workshops to help you explore some relatively common issues, understand how they affect you, and think about strategies for managing them throughout your time as a student. These one-off sessions are open to any student and cover a broad range of subjects - whether you’re struggling to settle in to life at university or you’re experiencing specific challenges and concerns, there’s a workshop that can help support you.

Click here for full details of how to register for workshops.

Worried about a friend

When someone is struggling with their mental health and wellbeing, their friends are often the first people that they turn to for support. But sometimes it can be difficult to know what to say or how best to help someone who has reached out to you. 

Click here for advice about supporting a friend when they reach out for help with a mental health issue.

About the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

The Mental Health and Wellbeing service offers a wide array of support to those who need it. Our experienced psychological practitioners and counsellors are available in person and online, as well as through our check-in sessions, groups and workshops. Your Wellbeing Officer can also provide practical and emotional support for you throughout your degree, whilst our self-help guides can help you discover new advice for when you’re concerned about your mental health.

There are several important things that you may need to know.

Service accreditation

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Service has two main strands – the counselling service and the wellbeing practitioner service. The counselling service holds Service Accreditation with BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), organisational number 140757.

Confidentiality

Our services follow the BACP's Ethical Framework for Counselling Professionals.

As a confidential service we ensure:

  • Your contact with us is not disclosed to anyone else, inside or outside the University without your clear, written consent.
  • Your academic department does not have access to any information about your contact with us, including the fact that you have made contact.
  • We do not discuss your contact with us with family members, or anyone else who contacts us requesting information about you.

There are some situations where we would need to pass on personal information to someone outside of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service. These are:

  • When we would be liable to civil or criminal court procedure if the information was not disclosed.
  • If we believe that you, or a third party is in serious danger.

In these circumstances we would not normally break confidentiality without your consent, if at all possible, and only to the extent necessary in the circumstances.

Record keeping

Our record keeping is fully compliant with the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Your notes are stored in compliance with Data Protection requirements and can only be accessed by staff who work in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

We will keep electronic notes about your contact with us for a period of seven years. After this period, notes are securely deleted from our systems and we can no longer access information about your contact with us. 

Accessing your records

Under the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) you have certain rights to access records held about you. If you wish to see your counselling records, please make a request in writing to the University's Legal Services: email legalservices@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

I have a concern about the service

If you do have a concern with any aspect of your contact with us, there are several steps you can take. We'll always endeavour to handle this concern appropriately, with your wellbeing as our main priority.

  • To begin with, try to talk to your counsellor. They'll always be willing to look at the reasons for your concerns and will try to explore ways in which matters can be resolved. Please don’t worry about offending them – they'll be more than prepared to think about what might need to change in order to make your sessions more productive or to solve the issue that you've raised.
  • If your counsellor cannot resolve matters for you, you can write to the head of service with your concern: Joanne Adams, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Aston Webb Student Hub, University of Birmingham, BIRMINGHAM B15 2TT. (If you have been seeing Joanne, you may write to the Assistant Director of Student Services at the address below). Your concern will be acknowledged within 5 working days, and you'll receive a full response within 2 weeks of receipt of your concern.
  • After this, if you feel that your concern has still not been resolved, you can contact Nahid Saiyed, who will investigate further, at Assistant Director of Student Services (Student Support), Aston Webb Student Hub, University of Birmingham, BIRMINGHAM B15 2TT.
  • Beyond this, you can raise your concern with the professional association which accredits the counselling strand of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service: The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 15 St John’s Business Park, LUTTERWORTH, LE17 4HB.