Student Support and Wellbeing services in 2020/21

This page outlines how Student Support and Wellbeing services will be running for the 2020/21 academic year.

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Last updated 21 January 2021. The information below is subject to change as we progress through the academic year. 

Support during lockdown

We recognise students may be facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). Full support remains available from UCL in the form of same-day appointments with our DMHW (Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing) team, counselling with SPCS (Student Psychological and Counselling Services) and self-help resources across our Student Support and Wellbeing site.

We are running wellbeing events open to all students in partnership with Students' Union UCL. We also have dedicated self-isolation guidance and support for students who are self-isolating.

To make an appointment with our advisers or for any further enquiries you have or support you may need, access askUCL and a member of our team will get in contact with you.

Students struggling with their mental health at this time can also access support via the NHS and online resources from Public Health England, along with support from mental health charity Mind. Further sources of information and support are Every Mind Matters, and Young Minds for young people.

Helpful articles

We've put together a selection of articles to help you through the pandemic, with many written by students themselves. Below are our current featured articles, and you can find many more on the UCLcares site

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Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing (DMHW) team

Full support from our Disability Advisers, Mental Health Advisers and Wellbeing Advisers remains available.

Appointments with advisers 

All students are able to easily book an appointment with an adviser to discuss any issues that might be affecting their ability to study related to disability, mental health or wellbeing.

You're able to book appointments on the day, or longer appointments are available – up to 1 hour – which can be booked in advance.

Appointments take place over the phone or in a video call, whichever of these formats suits you best. There is excellent availability and you can be seen on the same day by booking an appointment as above on any day UCL is open.

Our advisers will work with you to find practicable solutions. They will always follow up and they’re closely connected to a number of other teams within UCL and partner organisations externally.

You can book appointments through the DMHW team with other specialist support services, including Rape Crisis for women affected by sexual violence, Gendered Intelligence for students transitioning gender, or the UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser.

What advisers can do for you 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers provide supportive conversations and often act in a signposting capacity, pointing you to the correct support services (including our own Student Psychological and Counselling Services) and guiding you through the process of accessing support.

Disability Advisers will work with you and your department to implement the reasonable adjustments your need and develop your helpful Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA) document.

Support for disabled students 

Ongoing specialist mentoring support is available for students with a long-term mental health condition or Autistic Spectrum Condition. You can access this via referral by one of our advisers or by applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). Specialist mentoring support is available over the phone and via video calls.

Ongoing specialist study skills support is available to students with Specific Learning Difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Conditions. As above, you can access this via referral by one of our advisers or by applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). Specialist study skills support is also available over the phone and via video calls.

A wide array of reasonable adjustments are available, including extra time in exams, deadline extensions, assistive technology, and human support such as the mentors mentioned above.

Many of these adjustments are funded by the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) – in some cases, if you're not eligible for DSA, the DMHW team may be able to coordinate UCL funding instead.

To discuss any of this support, make an appointment with the DMHW team through the askUCL student enquiry system as above.

Concerns about another student

The DMHW team also manage the Student of Concern process. Staff members or other students can complete the Student of Concern form if they are worried about a UCL student’s wellbeing or safety. The form will come in to the DMHW team for assessment – DMHW will respond to the submission and will typically then try to contact the student to check on their wellbeing within 48 working hours.

Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS) team

The SPCS team offer psychological support and counselling (psychodynamic therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy, and psychiatric appointments) free of charge to all our students.

You can easily access this support by completing an online registration form. You will then be triaged within 24 hours and will receive an invitation to an initial consultation with a counsellor or psychiatrist. You'll then typically start either a full counselling programme ordinarily consisting of up to 6 sessions and/or psychiatric support.

Appointments with a counsellor or psychiatrist take place over the phone or in a video call, whichever of these formats suits you best.

The SPCS team work closely with Ridgmount Practice – UCL’s partner GP surgery – to ensure that students on or near to campus have full access to mental health services.

The SPCS team can also assist with onward referrals to other services where necessary.

Extra phone and online counselling and support

Some students might prefer to access support outside UCL, so you also have access to additional counselling or more general support for a wide array of issues over the phone or online through real-time live chat.

This support is provided on a 24/7 basis for students in the UK by our partner organisation Care First.

If you're overseas, you have access to this form of support through the Global Student Assistance Programme at any time.

Keeping in Touch phone call outreach campaign

Our team of student ambassadors have been calling as many students as possible since the second national lockdown through our Keeping in Touch campaign. Our student ambassadors are calling to help support students look after their mental health and wellbeing. 

The ambassadors will call you to have a supportive, caring and non-judgmental conversation, listen to any concerns you may have and signpost you to relevant resources and services.

Ambassadors are currently calling undergraduate students  excluding first-years  and postgraduate taught students. We've started with students we believe to be in the UK (according to your term-time address on Portico) and will then call students we believe to be overseas. If you're a first-year undergraduate, you may instead receive a call from a member of Student Support and Wellbeing staff. If you're living in halls of residence, you might alternatively receive a call from a Student Residence Adviser

Health care

SSW provides comprehensive information on how students can access health care on our website.

The team work closely with Ridgmount Practice – UCL’s partner GP surgery – to ensure that students on or near to campus have full access to health services.

Students continue to have full access to health care provided by the NHS.

Student Enquiries Centre (SEC) team

The SEC team handles student enquiries on all the main aspects of a student’s academic life and life beyond the classroom, including letters of student status for council tax and opening a bank account.

Students can easily search for answers to questions or submit enquiries through askUCL, our online student enquiries system managed by the SEC team.

At the start of the 2020/21 academic year, the team launched a telephone service for students who require additional support, which can be reached on +44 (0)20 3108 8836.

International Student Support (ISS) team

The ISS team provide advice and support to all our non-UK students around settling in to UCL and UK life. Common themes include accessing health care, banking, travel and transport, and cultural integration.

The ISS team can help any international students, including our affiliate students who may only be on a short programme of study.

The International Student Orientation Programme (ISOP), organised by the ISS team, is a programme of events to help new international students settle in. This academic year it will be delivered in the form of the Online Orientation for New Students course and the International Student Orientation webinars

Students can access the information on the ‘International students’ webpages or easily contact the team by raising an enquiry in askUCL.

If you need a bank letter to open a UK account or a Statement of Student Status, you can print these from your Portico account. Please use the UCL guide on how to do this. Further information on how students can open a UK bank account can be found on the ISS webpages.

Information on police registration at OVRO (the Overseas Visitors Records Office) for any new students who need to complete this can also be found on the ISS webpages.

Immigration and visas

Immigration and visa advice is provided by a separate team within UCL Admissions. Information on BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) collection can be found on their webpages. For information about the EU Settlement Scheme, please see this page.

Study Abroad team

The Study Abroad team manage outbound student mobility for the majority of UCL’s undergraduate students who study or work abroad during their degree (some departments, such as SELCS, have large-scale study abroad programmes which they manage themselves).

Together with colleagues in the Global Engagement Office (GEO), and working closely with faculties and departments, the Study Abroad team also maintain UCL’s network of global partner institutions.

Applications to study abroad in 2021/2022 have now closed. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there remains a risk that study abroad placements may be cancelled by the overseas university, if they deem this a necessary safety measure. Some universities may only be able to offer virtual exchange for part or all of the 2021/22 academic year. At this time, we do not know the extent to which overseas travel and exchange placements might be impacted in 2021/22. The Study Abroad team continues to monitor government guidance and communicate with partners to inform UCL’s approach for study abroad placements.

The Study Abroad team also manages a number of short-term global opportunities which generally occur over the summer holiday period. Opportunities for the summer of 2021 are also contingent on the global situation, but the team are hopeful that some of the short-term opportunities will go ahead as planned.

UCL remains firmly committed to study abroad and providing opportunities for a global experience to as many of its students as possible. 

Students can easily contact the Study Abroad team through askUCL.

Student Residence Advisers (SRAs) and Hall Wardens

SSW manage the SRA programme: this is a network of current – mostly postgraduate – students (the SRAs), and some staff members (the Hall Wardens), living in our halls of residence, who act in a support and advisory role to help residents of UCL accommodation.

SRAs are on hand to support residents out of office hours with any wellbeing or mental health concerns they may have. They have had comprehensive training and can handle a wide range of issues.

Together with reception staff on site during office hours and security staff on site 24/7, the SRAs provide residents with holistic care at all times.

Faith support

UCL’s Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser is available to provide pastoral support to students of any and all faiths (or none) for any issues related to religion, faith or spirituality.

You can speak to the Interfaith Adviser by email or you can send an email to arrange an appointment over the phone at a time during UK working hours that suits you.

Information for parents and guardians

Parents and guardians of UCL students are very important in encouraging their children to adopt healthy behaviours and look after their wellbeing while at UCL. SSW provide dedicated information and guidance to parents of our students on our website.


SSW services work together collaboratively to fulfil UCL’s duty of care to students under the age of 18 and those who are vulnerable adults. Students under the age of 18 are allocated to specific halls of residence, where SRAs and Hall Wardens will regularly check on their welfare. Regular meetings between SSW’s various teams are held to discuss individual student cases and ensure a joined-up approach. SSW is fully committed to enacting our duty of care and ensuring the welfare of vulnerable students.