Evening and weekend support

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

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 to, or if you need tips and techniques to find solutions Care First is there to support you.

The Care First support is free of charge and is available:

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

For telephone counselling call 0800 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 will need to log in using these 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 UCL Student Support and Wellbeing if a student is at serious risk of harming themselves or someone else.

What Care First can help with

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

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 example extension of deadlines or exam dates
  • in-person or long term psychological support

Find out more about UCL Student Psychological Services

Find out more about crisis support

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)

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

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 ideas:

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

The benefits of telephone and online counselling

Many studies have found that telephone and online counselling are as effective as face-to-face therapy and for some people can be more effective. They have a range of benefits over face-to-face therapies. 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 easier communication as they don’t have to worry about expressing themselves verbally and are able to reflect on their thoughts and feelings before expressing them.


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

Complete the survey