Service Level Agreement (SLA) for Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing

This document is intended to present the minimum level of service that users can expect from the Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing service. As with all such agreements, targets have been set to reflect normal circumstances and they may not always be met in periods with high levels of staff absence or vacant posts. The targets will be regularly monitored in order to ensure that targets are being met and service levels improved, wherever possible.

Our team of qualified Counsellors and Mental Health Advisors are here to support your mental health and wellbeing. We will do this in a non-judgemental way which respects your values, personal resources and capacity for development. All students can make an appointment with a Counsellor (One at a Time Counselling) or a Mental Health Advisor by contacting the Student Hub at any time.

If you are a current student and have a diagnosed mental health condition you can start the process of accessing support by filling out an Initial Identification of Needs form and submitting it to the Student Hub.


1. What to expect from Counselling?

Counselling is a talking therapy which gives you the opportunity to explore issues which are causing you concern or distress. Your counsellor will give you the space to find a new perspective on a problem or think about options for change. The counsellor won’t tell you what to do but they will listen to you and help you find a way forward.

At the University of Stirling, we offer One at a Time Counselling, which means we focus on the most significant issue for you at the time of your session. We offer you one appointment at a time, then encourage you to reflect on what you and your counsellor have discussed. This may include taking some action regarding your situation and trying to manage it by putting into practice the ideas, techniques or action plans discussed in counselling. If it is more appropriate to refer you on to other services, either within or out with the University, we will do this with your permission.

If you feel after this process you need further support, you can make another appointment. Before any subsequent session, we will ask you to complete a new pre-session form so that we can understand what has brought you back to us. About 70% of students find a single appointment helps them to move in the right direction.

One at a Time Therapy can be used for a wide range of issues, from anxiety to improving relationships, grief and loss, mental health issues, life changes and managing stress. In a One at a Time session, we can offer a contained and immediate response to your most pressing concern. While the session will focus on your greatest concern, this therapy can still be suitable for students with multiple or complex issues. So you may have a lot going on in your life, but still find a One at a Time session helpful.


2. What to expect from a One at a Time Counselling session:

If you're a current University of Stirling student and would like to access our service, please complete our Counselling registration form. On receipt of your registration form, you can expect to have an appointment with a Counsellor within three weeks.

We are currently offering online and face-to-face counselling appointments. We'll ensure you receive the most appropriate support for your needs. We will treat you with dignity and respect, uphold the highest standards of confidentiality and offer you non-judgemental support to help you better understand your feelings and emotions.

When you register for the service, you will be sent a pre-session questionnaire to fill in. This will help you and your Counsellor to find out more about your main concerns and goals for your session. Please complete this before your session; if this is not complete before the session you will need to spend time during the session completing this. If you feel the session was enough to meet your needs then you will not have another session booked, with the understanding that you are welcome to re-contact us at any point in the future.

Counselling cannot be provided to students based overseas for legal and regulatory reasons. We can provide a support session (not counselling) to help you to identify local support in the country you are living in.


3. What to expect when meeting with a Student Adviser (Mental Health & Wellbeing)?

If you're a current University of Stirling student and would like to meet with a Mental Health Advisor, you can contact the Student Hub. You can expect to have a routine appointment with a Mental Health Advisor within three weeks. We are currently offering online and face-to-face appointments.

In an initial appointment with a Mental Health Advisor we will:

  • discuss what has bought you forward to make the appointment (this can include, who referred you or what led to you referring yourself);
  • discuss what your current concerns are with your mental health (symptoms you experience, worries you may have, taking relevant historical information, if you are involved with any services, take any regular medication);
  • focus on what you need in terms of support, now and in the future – creating an action plan. This may include referral to other university services or external services;
  • book a follow up appointment if we feel  it is appropriate to review how the plan is going (there may be action points for you and the Adviser and we want to review these).

What we discuss is confidential, however, if a Mental Health Advisor has any concerns about your safety or the safety of anyone else, they will discuss this with you and let you know what they may need to do about the information.

It may be that they need to share this with another member of the Wellbeing, Counselling and Mental Health Team, your GP or next of kin. You may not always agree with this decision but there are some situations where they are duty-bound and will do this without your consent. However, this would not be done without your knowledge.


4. What to expect from your Counsellor and Mental Health Advisor:

  • be friendly, approachable and non-judgmental;
  • treat you with dignity and respect;
  • respect your confidentiality subject to our statement on confidentiality and data sharing;
  • help you access useful resources;
  • continue to maintain our professionalism through participating in continuous professional development and by participating in regular supervision;
  • provide you with a referral to other helpful University services or external organisations, if appropriate, to ensure you receive the best support to meet your individual needs.


5. What the Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing service expects from you:

  • complete a registration form and pre-session questionnaire (for Counselling);
  • turn up for appointments on time;
  • provide us with contact details for both you and your GP;
  • provide us with medical evidence of your mental ill health condition if appropriate;
  • give us at least 48 hours notice of cancellations so we can offer freed-up appointments to other students who require our support;
  • allow us to keep confidential notes about your engagement with the service;
  • recognise that there may be times when we may need to extend confidentiality to other colleagues in order to provide you with the best level of support available (note: we will always seek to discuss extending confidentiality or information-sharing with you, unless this is not possible and you, or a third party is at risk of harm).

If you have a diagnosed mental health condition you can register with Accessibility and Inclusion to access a wide range of supports. This may include being matched with a Mental Health Mentor to support you to engage effectively with your studies. Details of this process are outlined in the Accessibility and Inclusion Service Level Agreement.


6. More information

Student Support Services
Student Services Hub - Campus Central
Tel: +44 (0)1786 466022
Useful links: Your mental health and wellbeing and Accessibility and inclusion

We aim to respond to email enquiries within 5 working days.