Ms Cecily Walker
Teaching and learning advisor
School of Computer Science and IT
“I refer a couple of students each week to Counselling. Without them my job would be really difficult.
Often when something happens to a student, the first time they talk about it is when they have to come to me about why they’ve failed. There’s a lot of illness, family stress and personal stress. There’s violence in the home, relationship break-ups, problems with drugs and unwanted pregnancies. We’ve had Libyan students whose relatives were being killed. You name it, it happens.
Counselling is really important for a lot of students because university life offers lots of freedom and it's often the first time they’ve needed to manage their own lives. When things go wrong, they don't always realise until their problems have become very serious. There’s a range of staff around the University to help with routine issues such academic advice and solving study difficulties. But many students face more serious pressures that only skilled psychologists and counsellors can assist with.
A lot of students need counselling unpacked for them. I tell them about what’s going to happen because they might have pre-conceived ideas—maybe a friend went to a counsellor once and it didn’t work.
The counsellors prefer students to make their own appointment but it’s not always possible. If somebody’s really unwell—if I think they’re experiencing psychosis or something—I’ll walk them up there. If I refer a student and they promise to make an appointment the next day I’ll ask them to email me saying they’ve done it.”