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John*, Third-Year student
John was in the process of trying to get counselling through the NHS, but was not hearing back on the matter after having been on a waiting list for several months. Meanwhile, his university work was starting to slip as he couldn’t concentrate during his lectures and found it difficult to get to sleep at night.
“I felt as if I were in limbo. I couldn’t move forward in addressing my problems even though I knew what it was that was troubling me. At the same time, I really didn’t want to resort to taking a year out or withdrawing altogether, as I really enjoyed my subject and had made some great friends.”
One of John’s friends suggested he try getting access to counselling through the University’s counselling service.
“I hadn’t considered it because I thought it would be too generalised and wouldn’t really help me get to grips with my individual issues, but actually I found my counsellor to be really insightful. It did help me to keep my head above water at a time when things were starting to feel unmanageable, but then my sessions came to an end and I felt guilty about the idea of asking for more when others might be in greater need.
“I think the service itself is a valuable resource for students in need of an extra support-system while they’re away from home. It’s just a shame that it can’t be made to realise its full potential, perhaps by having more counsellors available or by connecting with students through a variety of media as well as face-to-face.”
*Names have been altered for reasons of confidentiality.