Did you take part in our All-student Survey in October 2023? Check out the feedback from our Student Services team in response to your comments:

Wellbeing and Mental Health waiting times

  • You’ve asked for shorter counselling waiting times. Our free 24/7 Student Assistance Programme offers up to six sessions a year, taking place via telephone or video-call. With the option for further counselling sessions if a different issue arises. You can self-refer or we can refer you. After contact, counselling normally starts within two weeks.  
  • We’ve listened to you asking for more wellbeing and mental health support, which is accessible at a time you want it. Our free 24/7 Student Assistance Programme offers unlimited in-the-moment support any time, day or night. There are a range of ways to contact, from telephone, video-call, live chat to email and call-back options, all accessible from the Wisdom app.  
  • On average, Wellbeing and Mental Health respond to all emails within two working days. It’s generally a one to two-week wait for an appointment with a Student Wellbeing Adviser or Mental Health Adviser. Our waiting times fluctuate slightly based on demand. With the introduction of our new Student Services Helpdesk, urgent situations are always responded to quickly and students can be supported through our emergency on-the-day service.  

Wellbeing and Mental Health in-person appointments only at Exton Park

  • Wellbeing and Mental Health offer a range of appointment times, with our supportive Student Services Helpdesk calling students to explore their preferred availability. The appointments can take place via MS Teams, with both audio and video options available, or telephone, for all our sites, with additional in-person services at Exton Park, University Centre Warrington and University Centre Shrewsbury.  To compliment this work, our student forums and pop-up events take place at all sites and we also have stands at Welcome Week and induction events.  
  • Our group-sessions are based on issues students are raising or requests being made. We host our Wellbeing and Mental Health sessions at different sites and also online, covering different days and times, to enable you to attend around your commitments. Sessions have included Look After Your Mate, Relaxation and Funding.  
  • We work closely with Chester Students’ Union to raise the profile of wellbeing and mental health support, including delivering different sessions at multiple sites, and online, for the CSU Wellbeing Fest. 

Increased awareness of/more Wellbeing and Mental Health services

  • We promote our Wellbeing and Mental Health services across a range of platforms, including the digital screens at all sites, email, social media, posters, lecture slides and a Portal and UoC app banner. We welcome feedback and suggestions about how else we can raise awareness of support.  
  • We utilise key national dates and events to help raise the profile of wellbeing and mental health support, delivering bespoke sessions and events to coincide. For example, World Mental Health Day, National Suicide Prevent Day, University Mental Health Day and Time to Talk Day.  
  • Our students have told us social anxiety can stop them from connecting with others. This feedback has helped Wellbeing and Mental Health to develop sessions that offer a safe space, with attendee numbers limited, to connect with others in a structured but informal and fun way, resulting in hosting craft sessions and exploring board game sessions too.  
  • Wellbeing and Mental Health are working on building communities, with dedicated Networks and Peer Support groups. Networks include LGBTQ+, Parents, Menopause, Men’s Space and there are Peer Groups such as Care Experienced, Estranged and Carers. This provides students who may have a shared background, or going through similar experiences, to connect, support, and share tips and information with each other.   
  • In addition to our on-campus services, we provide additional support through our Student Assistance Programme related to topics that can impact on our wellbeing, mental health or disability conditions. This includes legal, financial or relationship guidance from qualified advisers, available 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday. Or medical information from qualified nurses, available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If English isn’t your first language, there’s also a language line which connects you to an interpreter so you can chat in your preferred language.  
  • You can also access the beneficial self-help functions of our new Student Assistance Programme Wisdom app to compliment the on-campus support provided. It includes wellbeing trackers, mini health checks, four-week structured health plans, access to videos, podcasts, including yoga workouts and guided meditation. All available 24/7. 
  • The UoC app has a wealth of information, in one handy and easily accessible place, about all our support services available. This means you can quickly find the information you need. Check out the Student Support tile to explore further.  

Disability & Inclusion

  • We are currently introducing a new Inclusion Plan process in Disability and Inclusion. This is a really positive change for our students, but, sadly, it’s caused slightly increased waiting times for an appointment. We are confident as we move into the next phase of this project we will return back to normal for our waiting times.  
  • We’re working on how best to highlight the deadlines for engagement to ensure reasonable adjustments can be put in place before assessments take place. This will help ensure there is sufficient time for our Disability Support Officers and students to meet and agree an Inclusion Plan.  
  • We work closely with our Student Services Helpdesk colleagues to ensure all time-sensitive Disability and Inclusion queries are answered quickly. In addition, we ensure our University webpages are current and relevant, this supports our students, their parent(s)/carer(s) and third parties with accessing information they need at a time that suits them.  
  • We are a supportive and welcoming team in Disability and Inclusion, offering a range of appointment times and different services. This includes in-person at some sites, MS Teams, both audio and video options available, or telephone. We also provide advice via email and have detailed summaries of our support options on our external website for everyone to easily access.  
  • Feedback has highlighted that not all our students know their Inclusion Plan remains in place throughout their studies, and only needs updating if there’s a change in circumstance. To address this, we’ll make sure we highlight this fact in our Disability and Inclusion appointments and email communication.  
  • In Disability and Inclusion, we work with applicants to try and get support in place before starting. We also contact our current students to ensure they have Inclusion Plans and highlight additional support from Disabled Students’ Allowance.  
  • We work closely with our Disability Link Tutors across the University to raise awareness of support available from Disability and Inclusion. We are keen to do more and are exploring attendance at events and our marketing materials. We would welcome feedback and suggestions about how else we can raise awareness of support.  

Finance/Your Money

  • This year we introduced Student Support Fund, to help students who are having financial issues – the fund delivered several key improvements including a single fund for all students to apply to, a simpler application process and revised awarding structure.  
  • We have recruited a Student Money Adviser which has allowed us to introduce a new money management support service. We will be recruiting two new Student Money Advisers next year which will allow us to introduce further support and financial wellbeing initiatives into our service.  
  • We have recently begun a collaboration with StepChange debt charity which has allowed us to introduce a direct referral service for students who need support. 

Increased awareness of Student Services

  • Posters with key information about our services have now been put up across sites, as well as on our digital screens.  
  • The teams are present at events across the year. We have recently supported North West Sexual Violence Week and the Student Experience Forums. We will also be supporting events during the upcoming Wellbeing Fest. 
  • We have created a video which highlights what our services offer. We are currently creating a webpage which will host our new Student Support Guide, as well as information about our services and teams.  

Commuting and mature student support

  • We are currently reviewing what the University offers for our commuting and mature students. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the ways we could best support you, please do email us studentexperience@chester.ac.uk   

Residential Life

  • Our Residential Life team organises events across the year for our residential students. We have recently had a visit from the therapy dogs, organised pumpkin carving, board games and crafting. We are always happy to hear any more suggestions from students as to what you would like to see. You can contact us by emailing reslife@chester.ac.uk 
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