Phone and online support

We work in partnership with Care First to provide counselling support by telephone or online using one-to-one real-time instant messaging.

Support from Care First is available 24/7 

Care First provides support to students currently in the UK; both their phone and online support services are available 24/7.

Students outside the UK should contact the Global Student Assistance Programme, providing free, confidential support, at any time of day. 

Full information on what is provided and how to access the support can be found below.

On this page:

About Care First

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) works in partnership with Care First, an independent advice and counselling service, to provide telephone and online support in the evenings and during weekends, bank holidays and UCL closure periods.

The Care First team of counsellors can help you address 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

When Care First support is available

Care First support is free of charge and is available for 24 hours a day, Monday to Sunday and throughout bank holidays and UCL closure periods. 

How to contact Care First

For telephone counselling, call +44 (0)800 197 4510.

For online counselling, visit Care First Lifestyle, where you can access a one-on-one messaging service with a counsellor in real time

You'll need to provide 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 help you.

Care First must inform Student Support and Wellbeing if a student is at serious risk of harming themselves or someone else.

How Care First can support you

Care First use a brief solution-focused therapy (BSFT) model. This is a short-term counselling approach which allows flexibility. It is evidence-based and has been shown to be effective and successful.

BSFT aims to build solutions rather than solve problems by focusing on the future. Although BSFT 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.

BSFT is founded on seven basic ideas:

  • focusing on the future - history is not essential
  • emphasising what is changeable and possible
  • the individual must want to change
  • understanding that change is both constant and certain
  • understanding that the therapy is short-term
  • recognising that the individual is the experts and should outline their own goals
  • discovering that individuals have resources and their own strengths to solve and overcome their problems

What Care First does not provide

Care First does not provide support in a mental health crisis or emergency. They also can't provide in-person or long-term psychological support, which can instead be access through your GP. SSW's Student Psychological and Counselling Services can provide short-term counselling on campus, based on students' needs.

Care First cannot provide any information relating to your programme of study, such as exam dates. Please check the relevant information on your department's website, or speak to a Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Adviser at a drop-in session or appointment for enquiries about reasonable adjustments or extenuating circumstances.

Find out more about urgent support available during a mental health crisis. 

Find out more about therapeutic support including counselling and CBT from SSW's Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS)

Find out more about drop-in sessions and appointments.

Benefits of telephone and online counselling

Telephone and online counselling can be as effective as face-to-face therapy and for some people can be more effective.

Telephone and online counselling have a range of benefits over face-to-face therapies, which include the following:

  • it’s easy to access and you can do it from your own home
  • you don’t need to book an appointment in advance to speak to someone, so you can fit it around your studies and other commitments
  • not being face to face with someone can make it easier for some people to open up and worry less about issues to do with physical appearance
  • some people find that online counselling makes communication easier as they don’t have to worry about expressing themselves verbally and are able to reflect on their thoughts and feelings before expressing them