UCL Support Team for Students affected by War, Conflict & Disaster

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University College London (UCL) is a "global university", with a high proportion of international students and dual national students, as well as those domiciled abroad. Prior to their arrival in the UK or during their studies, some students may be impacted by events in their home countries, such as war, conflict, civil unrest and disasters. These events can be highly distressing for students, even if they are not physically present themselves.

To support these students, a dedicated team was established in May 2022; a collaboration between Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW), the Department of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS), and the University Clinic. Members of the team aim to support affected students emotionally and with problem-solving by offering sessions of Psychological First Aid (PFA). Students generally receive 2–4 sessions of PFA, but their needs are closely monitored. 

What is Psychological First Aid (PFA)?

Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an "evidence-informed" approach to supporting individuals, during and shortly after, potentially traumatic events, and is endorsed by governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and health organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). These events can range from a one-off incident to a prolonged crisis and can be of an individual, local or global scale.

Someone can be distressed by these events without being present themselves. In fact, simply being aware of human suffering can be traumatising, especially if loved ones are involved. PFA aims to alleviate an individual's distress through offering a supportive and compassionate space to make sense of normal psychological reactions, whilst promoting coping, self-care and practical assistance. 

How can PFA be accessed?

Students can access PFA by initially arranging to speak to Study Abroad and International Student Support: internationalsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

You can also access the team's support by arranging to speak to a SSW Student Adviser

Please note

The team does not offer psychological therapy for symptoms of mental health disorders (e.g. PTSD) although it can make onward referrals where appropriate. PFA is for people affected by recent or ongoing traumatic events, i.e. those with acute stress reactions and/or adjustment.