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Important Considerations When Applying to UCL

1. WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN CONSIDERING APPLYING TO UCL IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING PSYCHOLOGICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION

If you have been suffering from anxiety or depression for 6 months or more, or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorder, etc, you might want to think about the following issues before applying to UCL:

  • Will the course you want to study exacerbate your psychological or mental health condition?

For example, the time-table might be too demanding, the assessment procedure too stressful, or the class size too alienating. If so, a different course of study or the same degree in another university   might be less pressured for you.

  • Will living away from home worsen your psychological or mental health condition?

For example, sharing a flat with other students might be too taxing, caring for yourself be too demanding, or balancing your study/life commitments too challenging. If so, considering going to a university near home might alleviate some of these difficulties.

  • Will studying at a large London based university be harmful to your mental wellbeing?

For example, coping with large numbers of staff and students might be too stressful, finding your way round the many and wide-spread UCL departments be too tiring, or living in a metropolitan city too isolating. If so, considering a smaller, campus based university might be more conducive to your mental health.

  • Will you be able to get the psychological support you need to manage your psychological or mental health condition?

For example, the length of treatment on offer might be too short, the waiting time for treatment too long or the cost of treatment too expensive. If the latter,, factoring the cost of psychological treatment into your budget might be a consideration when choosing the best university for you. Depending on the type of therapy needed, this can range from £60 to £120 per session in London, as of July 2015.


2. WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN YOU ACCEPT A PLACE ON A COURSE AT UCL IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING PSYCHOLOGICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION

If you have been suffering from anxiety or depression for 6 months or more, or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorder,etc, you should do the following as soon as possible after accepting your place   at UCL:

1. Let UCL’s Disability service know that you have an existing psychological or mental health condition in order that reasonable adjustments can be made to enable you to study as effectively as possible. E.g. Setting up mentoring, or organising special examination arrangements for you.
2. Ask your existing psychological/mental health provider to refer you to a similar service in London in order to minimise the length of time you have to wait for support after starting college.
3. Factor the cost of private therapy into your budget if it looks like you will have to wait for an NHS referral or will need on-going psychological support while at college. Depending on the type of therapy needed, this can range from £60 to £120 per session in London, as of July 2015.
4. Register with a GP as soon as you have an address in London, especially if you are taking prescription medication, or will need to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis while at college.

3. WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU DEVELOP A PSYCHOLOGICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION WHILE AT UCL.

It is not uncommon for some students to become anxious or depressed while at college. Living away from home for the first time, having to take responsibility for yourself, or managing the demands of a degree course can put you under considerable psychological pressure. Less common is the development of mental illnesses. However, each year, a small number of students do go on to develop a mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, etc. It is therefore important that you keep the following in mind should you have any concerns about your mental health while at university.

1. Register with a GP as soon as you have an address in London. This will enable a referral to specialist NHS mental health services to be made as soon as possible, e.g. to a psychiatrist, an eating disorders unit, or a community mental health team. It will also enable appropriate medication to be prescribed and monitored if necessary.
2. Register with the Student Psychological Service sooner rather than later. This will enable you to have a psychological assessment, be offered time-limited one-to-one or group psychological support, referred to NHS specialist mental health services or to a private therapist for on-going support.
3. Register with the college disability service. This will enable reasonable adjustments to be made while you are unwell, such as setting up mentoring or organising special examination arrangements for you.
4. Talk to your departmental tutor. This will enable your department to help you manage your workload while you are unwell, such as giving you an extension for a piece of work, or taking your mental health into account when assessing your exam performance.
5. Consider an interruption of study. This will give you the time to get the necessary treatment for your psychological or mental health difficulties without the pressure of the demands of your course.

The Samaritans offer the following Services:

- Face to face support

-24/7 free phone helpline, 365 days a year

- E-mail service

- Text-phone service

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