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Navigating the New Year: A Guide to Accessing Counselling Services on Campus

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Cliché as it is, I see a new year as the perfect time to check in with yourself, make adjustments to your life and try out new things. Whether it’s traditional New Year resolutions, more casual ins and outs or changing absolutely nothing at all, January is a great opportunity for self-reflection, whatever that means for you. 

For the past few January, I’ve said to myself that I would look into starting counselling. For various reasons, it wasn’t until October last year that I stopped putting it off and signed up for the University counselling service. As someone who likes to know how things are going to play out, I was thinking how helpful it would have been to have a guide outlining the steps involved in seeking help in this way. For that reason, here’s an insight into the process to ease your mind if it’s something that you have considered but found the idea of actually reaching out for professional help daunting. 

The University offers free, short-term, brief intervention counselling. Each session is booked after the previous one if you and your counsellor agree that a follow-up appointment is necessary, with encouraged time in between to space out each session. 

  1. Set up an initial meeting with the University wellbeing team – this is set up through the student wellbeing page (see link below) to discuss options moving forward. Whilst I did find this extremely daunting at first, this appointment put me at ease about the whole process. I had my meeting in the Trent building (there are options for the Jubilee campus or they can be done through teams if that suits you better) and the space felt safe and supportive. We discussed why I was seeking help so that they could get a better insight into how to help moving forward. Again, I felt very supported and not pressured to disclose anything that I wasn’t comfortable with. We discussed the options available such as support groups, one-on-one counselling and online resources. We agreed that one-on-one counselling was best for me so I filled out a referral form summarising what I needed help with. This information is then passed onto the counselling team so that I can be put on the waiting list to book appointments. The waiting list operates in a needs-based structure, not first come first serve, which is what the referral form is used to determine. A few hours after my appointment, I received an email confirming my place on the waiting list as well as a variety of links to self-help resources such as podcasts, articles and workshops in the meantime. Each person’s wait time will be different but for reference, it took 18 days from my initial meeting to being able to book in with a counsellor. 
  1. Booking an appointment – Once I was off the waiting list, I could book my first appointment with a counsellor. There were a variety of counsellors available to choose from across University Park and Sutton Bonington campuses as well as via teams to fit around your University and/or work schedule. Again, for a timescale reference, I made the booking on the 17th of November for an appointment on the 7th of December. There were a variety of counsellors that I could’ve seen at a closer date, this is just what worked best for me. Throughout the whole process, there is also immediate support offered if you need emergency help. 

Since then, I’ve had a few appointments and have found it beneficial and cathartic to talk things through with a professional. Often counselling and therapy are at the forefront of discourses surrounding mental health, but this can be difficult with high costs and the struggle of fitting sessions around a more busy professional work schedule. Therefore if it is something that you are considering, I would encourage you to take advantage of using the free University resources whilst they are on offer to you as a student. LINK TO STUDENT WELLBEING PAGE:  https://studentlife.nottingham.ac.uk/students/login?ReturnUrl=%2fs%2fmywellbeing%2fappointments%3f_gl%3d1*1usqlub*_ga*MTA0NDIxNTczNi4xNjMyMjYyMzg1*_ga_NTJWP5TDWB*MTcwNjUzNTQ3Ny4yMi4wLjE3MDY1MzU0NzcuNjAuMC4w

Hazel Miles

Nottingham '24

Hazel Miles is a writer for the Nottingham Chapter of Her Campus, with interests in beauty and wellness, fashion, pop culture and film & TV reviews. She is a third year Liberal Arts student at the University of Nottingham, having changed course from a first year Film & TV degree. Outside of studies, she enjoys going to the gym, seeing friends & family and cooking.