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Service spotlight: Advice and Counselling Service

QMUL’s Advice and Counselling Service provides many students with specialist, professional and confidential support on a wide range of welfare, financial, emotional and psychological issues. Now is a busy time of year, so with essay deadlines and exams approaching, we’re shining a spotlight on the service to show how it can help you.

“We offer a wide range of different types of support, from financial advice through to psychological support. That means students only need to come to one place to get help” – Laura SeQueira, Head of Advice and Counselling Service 

Top tip:

When you find yourself in a particularly stressful situation or are going through a bad period, you may feel that nothing can help or that there’s no way out of your situation. You are not alone. A great deal of students feel exactly this way, and you will be surprised just how much talking to a counsellor or a welfare adviser can help. Most people realise that there are many more ways forward than they first imagined.

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing is crucial during essay and exam season, and is vital to successful study and performance. The Advice and Counselling Service can help you to invest time in learning how to look after your physical, emotional and mental health and provide a number of resources to do so. They offer face-to-face emotional support (such as individual counselling, group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy), workshops on dealing with specific issues, guidance on coping with student life and study such as the transition to university for first year students, as well as more specialist advice around mental health and medical studentsLGBTQ life, and domestic violence, as well as building emotional resilience during tough times. 

Welfare advice

“You don’t need to have a problem to see a Welfare Adviser: we give financial advice to help you manage your money and avoid problems” – Lizzy Pollard, Welfare Advice Manager and Deputy Head of Advice and Counselling Service

Welfare issues, such as looking after your finances and holding down a part-time job can also distract you from your studies and impact on your wellbeing, especially when deadlines and exams are coming up. The Advice and Counselling Service believe that their welfare advice is just as vital as the emotional and psychological support that they offer for this reason. They can help you find solutions to these problems through one to one welfare advice sessions, as well as providing online resources including money advice and budget planning, additional sources of funding for undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as immigration and welfare support for international students. There are also a number of student advice guides available on a range of popular topics. 

Top tip:

If you haven’t already registered with a local GP, you should do so as soon as possible. You may need written confirmation from your GP to support an application for extenuating circumstances or other allowances. If you haven’t registered at the time of your application, it may be too late before the deadline comes around. Keep this in mind as exam season approaches.

Students living in QMUL accommodation at Mile End or Whitechapel, and students living in the borough of Tower Hamlets (E1, E2, E3 and E14) are encouraged to register with the Student Health Service (located on campus in the Geography Building, Mile End). A list of alternative local GPs can be found here.

International students

“We have important immigration information for all Tier 4 students” – Lizzy Pollard, Welfare Advice Manager and Deputy Head of Advice and Counselling Service.

The service can help with many issues specific to international students. This welfare support on offer ranges from guidance on visas and immigration issues, your employment options during and after your studies, academic life and social life in the UK.

Care leavers and estranged students

The Advice and Counselling Service also provides specific advice to students who have previously been in the care of a Local Authority (care-leavers) or those who are no longer in contact (or have very occasional contact) with their families (estranged students). This includes support with applying for student finance and budgeting, options for additional funding, and welfare advice. 

Personal development workshops

The Advice and Counselling Service offer a range of free personal development workshops. The following are now fully booked and waiting list only, but they give a good idea of what type of topics you can expect to be covered – more dates will be announced soon:

  • Growing in Confidence
    Date: Monday 27 November
    Time: 1.30–3pm
    Location: Advice and Counselling Service, 2nd Floor Graduate Centre, Mile End campus
  • Cant study? 
    Dates: Tuesday 28 November and Tuesday 5 December
    Time: 1.30–3pm
    Location: Advice and Counselling Service, Geography Building, Mile End campus 
  • Better Sleep
    Date: Thursday 30 November
    Time: 1.30–3pm
    Location: Advice and Counselling Service, 2nd Floor Graduate Centre, Mile End campus

Keep an eye on the personal development workshops page on the Advice and Counselling Service website to stay up to day on upcoming workshops. 

Specialist drug and alcohol support – RESET

Specialist staff from RESET, the Tower Hamlets drug and alcohol service, work with the Advice and Counselling Service to run weekly sessions at QMUL for students who are residents in Tower Hamlets. The aim of this service is to offer students support around reduction, motivational work on changing habits and coping with change, and quick and easy access to specialist support with these issues on campus, as an alternative to accessing NHS services off-campus. This includes support on ‘study’ or ‘smart’ drugs. You can pre-book a one to one, confidential appointment by calling into the Advice and Counselling Service on 020 7882 8717 or welfare@qmul.ac.uk.

What our users had to say

Students had the opportunity to share their feedback about the Advice and Counselling Service in the Feedback Survey 2017/18. Here are some of their comments: 

“It was amazing. I felt extremely comfortable discussing the issues I was facing and could not have gotten a better response from the team.”

“I found counselling to be worthwhile. It helped me see things from a different perspective and helped me to make healthy choices.”

“I just want to convey my appreciation for the Advice and Counselling Service. It has made a huge difference in the perspective I have had of myself. Because of this, I feel empowered to change the negative feelings I have about myself. Really thankful for the support!” 

How to get in touch

You can ask for an appointment or more information or advice about something you have read about on the Advice and Counselling website by filling in the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

  • Frontline service

“Sometimes students aren’t quite sure what help they are looking for – our friendly frontline staff are here to help students to untangle their difficulties and help them decide what help they need and how to access it” – Laura SeQueira, Head of Advice and Counselling Service 

The frontline team can help with basic information and queries, and can arrange for you to see one of the specialist staff. Just contact the team by calling in person, or by telephone or email. If you are not sure what kind of help you are looking for, they can talk to you about your queries and concerns, and help you to get the support you need. If you don’t feel comfortable explaining your situation in the reception area, just mention this to one of the frontline team and they will be happy to take you to a quieter area where you can talk more privately.

  • Accessing the services

Information on how to access welfare advice and counselling can be found on the Advice and Counselling Service website.

  • Opening times

Opening times and full contact information can also be seen on the Advice and Counselling website.

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