Student mental health: appendix 5

Mental ill health in students

This is an appendix to the Student mental health policy.

The relevant UCL committees have discussed the matter of students interrupting their course of study for reasons of mental ill health.

The problems associated with some students who have mental ill-health sufficiently severe to lead to interruption are:

  • failure to make satisfactory progress
  • behaviour both in the classroom and outside it can put pressure on their peers and on staff
  • behaviour can become overtly disruptive and cause distress to staff and other students
  • attempting to take their own life which is extremely disturbing to staff and other students
  • potentially violent towards staff and other students

UCL has a duty to ensure the continued education of all students enrolled for a programme of study and to monitor and advise about progress. It also has a duty to ensure a safe and appropriate working environment for staff and students, and to make reasonable and appropriate adjustments to facilitate the progress of students with mental ill-health problems.

When students exhibit the types of behaviour described above, staff should be alert to the fact that there may be an underlying mental health problem. Early intervention may avert the need for interruption of the course of study. Students should be encouraged to discuss the problem with a Student Counsellor or a doctor. Members of staff who are concerned about a student's behaviour, but are uncertain how to proceed, are encouraged to consult a Student Counsellor for advice.

For any student who interrupts their course of study for reasons of ill-health or who informs UCL of an episode of ill-health, UCL has a policy of requiring a letter from the student's doctor or psychiatrist specifically saying that they are fit to return to study and able to cope with the stresses of academic study and, if appropriate, life in student residences. This is to ensure not only that students are ready to derive full benefit from their programme of study but also to reduce risk to other members of the UCL community. Letters from doctors/psychiatrists will normally be requested by the Head of Student Psychological Services and the Director of Student Support and Wellbeing, with the permission of the student, assessed in confidence with appropriate colleagues. If deemed necessary, a risk assessment will be undertaken and conditions may be placed on the return to study.

On return to study, students must register with Student Disability Services to ensure that any necessary adjustments to the teaching and learning environment may be put in place.