In June 2015, the Counselling Team invited all students who had attended counselling within the last year to complete our annual service evaluation questionnaire.
We received 105 responses, a response rate very similar to last year.
- 83% of you were ‘home’ students, 12% were international, and 5% from an EU country.
- 38% of you were from the School of Health & Life Sciences, 41% from Glasgow School of Business & Society and 20% were from the School of Engineering and Built Environment.
- 37% of you disclosed a long term mental health condition such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorder (an increase of 7% from 2013/14).
- You were most likely to have heard about us from a member of staff in another department (48%), through the website (25%) or from another student (9%).
The Counselling Team aims to offer an Intake appointment within two weeks of request, and we aim to offer all students an initial counselling appointment within 2-3 weeks of their initial Intake appointment.
We saw demand for counselling again increase in the past academic year (23% between 2013/14 and 2014/15, contributing to an overall increase in demand of 101% between 2010/11 and 2014/15), and as a result students found they had to wait longer to access counselling. The resourcing needs of the Service are currently under review.
For initial Intake appointments :
- 28% of you received an appointment within one week (a slight increase from 2013/14, as students presenting ‘at risk’ were prioritised)
- 30% received an appointment within more than one week, but less than two weeks (down from 48% in 2013/14)
- 43% had to wait more than two weeks for your initial Intake appointment (up from 29% in 2013/14)
For first counselling sessions (after initial Intake appointments):
- 43% of you had to wait more than two weeks (up from 41% in 2013/14)
- 24% of you felt that you had waited too long.
67% of you went on to access counselling after your initial intake appointment. We asked those of you who didn’t proceed with counselling why that was:
- Just under half said it was because they no longer need counselling (issues were resolved)
- Just over a third (11 students in total) said it was because they had to wait too long.
Using our services
- A clear majority of those who responded to our evaluation (61%) prefer to make appointments using email, with 15% preferring to use the on-line form, 12% preferring to drop-in/make face to face contact, and 12% preferring to use the telephone.
- Most of you (89%) did not have stated preference for either CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or PCT (Person Centred Therapy) when you accessed our service.
- The majority (90%) of you were happy with the availability of appointment times.
- A majority of you (77%) continued to be satisfied with the number of counselling sessions offered to you, although the rest of you would have liked more.
The Counselling Team provides short term one-to-one counselling, usually up to maximum of six sessions per student.
Our service accommodation in Room M136 continued to be overall well received:
- 97% saying it was easy to find
- 100% that it was easily accessible
- 98% that it was a pleasant space
- 89% that it allows for an appropriate level of discretion
- 90% that it was adequately sound-proofed.
A number of you this year commented on concerns about noise and intrusion arising from the current building works on campus. And again, a few of you also made specific comments regarding how congestion in the corridor around lunchtimes affected the level of discretion afforded.
How our services benefitted you
We know that studying at university can be challenging at times, but were pleased to learn that so many of you were managing to overcome the hurdles and were on course for achieving your degrees.
- 83% of you reported that the issues you sought help from the Counselling Team in addressing were impacting on your studies.
- Prior to participating in counselling, 37% of you were considering leaving university and giving up on your studies
- However, 77% of those (considering leaving university) decided after accessing counselling to stay on course, with 27% deciding to take some ‘time out’ from your course, and only one respondent deciding to withdraw completely from their studies.
We were really pleased to learn how accessing counselling had positively impacted on you with:
- 85% of you becoming ‘more self-aware’
- 78% feeling happier in yourself
- 75% feeling more resilient (able to cope)
- 69% of you reporting greater self-confidence
- 54% of you had even seen improvements in your academic work since attending counselling!
Those improvements in academic performance may in part relate to the positive impact that attending counselling was reported to have had on key skills, such as the:
- 68% who are now better at working on your own
- 65% who are better at managing your workload
- 64% who have found you are better able to manage your time
An impressive 75% of you reported feeling more confident about progressing to the next year of your studies, after attending counselling.
And finally, 83% of you felt that attending counselling had enhanced your overall university experience.
Despite the overall positive responses, we’re keen to continue to improve what we offer, so that all students at GCU are given the opportunity to succeed and get the most out of all that university has to offer. To do that we have lots of improvements in the pipeline for the coming year, including:
- To continue a review of the resourcing of the Counselling Team, to enable us to continue to meet growing demand, and to respond appropriately to the needs of students with long term mental health difficulties.
- Continued work with our academic colleagues to embed support for mental wellbeing and self-care for all students within the curriculum. (This work had unfortunately to be suspended during 2014/15 due to the pressures of demand for counselling)
- Continue to offer support, advice and training to our academic colleagues on how to identify and support students in distress.
- Continue to work with the Students Association, other departments and the campus trade unions to promote positive mental wellbeing for all, through a programme of events, workshops, promotions and use of social media.
- Continue to develop and deliver a programme of groups and workshops to students, to include the highly popular Mindfulness Groups. (Again, these groups were suspended during 2014/15)
If you’d like to find out more about these developments, or anything else we might be able to do for you, please just get in touch.