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Telephone and Online Counselling 

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing is working in partnership with Care First to provide you with counselling support either by telephone or online using one-on-one real-time instant messaging.

The Care First support is free of charge and you can access it as follows:

  • 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday 
  • 24 hours during Weekends
  • 24 hours during Bank Holidays and UCL closure periods

Information about the support available to you during office hours can be found on the UCL website. The Current Students pages are also a good starting point.

The Care First counsellors

Care First counsellors, who are all professionally qualified and accredited by the BACP, are able to provide advice and guidance on any issue no matter how big or small; from things happening at home to university life.

If you just need someone to talk with, or if you need tips and techniques to find solutions - Care First is there to support you.

The Care First counselling service

Care First counselling uses a Solution-focused brief therapy model. This is a short-term counselling approach which allows flexibility. It is evidence-based and has shown to be effective and successful.

The Care First counselling approach is appropriate for addressing a range of emotional and psychological difficulties, including but not limited to:

  • Homesickness
  • Exam stress
  • Relationship problems
  • Family issues
  • Traumatic incidents
  • Bereavement
  • Bullying and harassment

Contacting Care First - you can call or get in touch online

  • For Telephone Counselling

Call 0800 197 4510

Available Monday-Friday 5pm-9am, 24 hours at Weekends, during Bank Holidays and UCL closure periods

  • For Online Counselling

Care First Lifestyle (www.carefirst-lifestyle.co.uk) is where you can access a one-on-one messaging service with a counsellor in real-time

Available Monday-Friday 5pm-10pm, 8am-10pm at Weekends, during Bank Holidays and UCL closure periods

To log in you will need to use the following details:

Username: uclstudent

Password: bentham

The Care First service is paid for by UCL and is available only to UCL students. This means that you will be required to provide your name, date of birth and UCL student number in order for a Care First counsellor to be able to assist you.

If a student is at risk of seriously harming themselves or others, Care First will inform UCL Student Support and Wellbeing.

The Care First helpline does not provide any of the following:

  • Emergency support. In case of emergency, please call 999 or if appropriate visit your nearest A&E department.
  • Information relating to your programme of study, for instance, extension of deadlines, exam dates, academic and attendance requirements or grades.
  • In-person or long term psychological support.

Benefits of Telephone and Online Counselling

Numerous studies (e.g. Mozes, 2015; Reese, Conoley & Brossart, 2002; Haberstroth et al., 2007; Shaw & Shaw, 2006; Trepal et al., 2007) have demonstrated that telephone and online counselling are equally effective as face-to-face therapy and for some people can be more effective.

More importantly telephone and online counselling have a wide range of benefits over face-to-face therapies, including:

  • Accessibility – you can be anywhere in world and don’t even have to leave your house to access help
  • Convenience – you don’t need to book an appointment in advance to speak to someone
  • Anonymity – this often makes it easier for someone to open up and reduces concerns about there being a bias due to race, gender, age, size or physical appearance
  • Specific benefit to online counselling: easier communication – you don’t have to worry about expressing yourself verbally and are able to reflect on your thoughts and feelings prior to expressing them

What is Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)?

SFBT aims to build solutions rather than solve problems by focusing on the future. Although SFBT acknowledges present problems and past experiences, it predominantly explores an individual's current resources and future hopes. This approach helps them to look forward and use their own strengths and resources to achieve their goals.

SFBT is founded on seven basic philosophies and assumptions:

  • Focus on the future - history is not essential
  • Emphasis on what is changeable and possible
  • Clients must want to change
  • Change is both constant and certain
  • Therapy is short-term
  • Clients are the experts and outline their own goals
  • Clients have resources and their own strengths to solve and overcome their problems

If you just need someone to talk with, or if you need tips and techniques to find solutions - Care First is free to use and there to support you.

Just by getting in touch you’re already making the situation better…

Send us your feedback

If you have used Care First telephone or online counselling, we would love to hear your feedback. If you would would be happy to share your views, we would be grateful if you could complete our short feedback survey. The survey should only take a couple of minutes and you could be in with the chancing of winning £50 worth of One4All vouchers!