Remote Online Support

Our free remote/ online support services may help you if you are currently registered at the University of Leeds but are studying or on placement away from the city.

These services are only available if you are unable to attend face to face appointments on campus. If you have other reasons for being unable to attend, please contact us so we can consider the best form of support for you.

You'll need to submit a Self-Referral form (see below). Please read all the information below before you make your application.

We would like to make our online service available to all students. However we are aware that in some countries or specific local areas within a country, receiving online wellbeing, counselling or mental health services is either not permitted or requires locality specific further permissions or licences that as UK based practitioners we will not have. For example we are aware that we cannot provide online counselling services to students who are temporarily resident in the State of California. Given the large number of countries in the world and the possibility of further local rules for areas within the country, it is not possible to guarantee that our information is up to date. We ask, therefore, that you do please tell us if you are aware of any legal restrictions relating to us providing online wellbeing, counselling or mental health services to you in your current location. 

How our online support services work

During our Remote/Online sessions we communicate through an online video conferencing system provided by Zoom. Before sessions begin you will need to have downloaded the free version of Zoom onto your Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone. Just search for Zoom on a desktop or laptop and follow download instructions or go to your App store and download if using a phone or tablet. Download Zoom here

For help with operating Zoom see: Zoom Help Centre

Before your session(s) you will be sent emails containing a unique URL for each session. Please make sure you keep these emails and click on the correct URL for the correct day! At the appointed time you and the member of staff you are meeting click on this URL opening Zoom on both of your devices. This provides a secure, private chatroom.

You will need to have a working webcam, sound and a microphone on your device*. If you are using a tablet or mobile device, please ensure that it is fully charged or plugged in before your online session begins.  The SCW recommends using a microphone and headphone headset if you have one available. When the session is concluded, you simply click off Zoom.

Please note it is important you are in a private location where you cannot be overheard for the duration of the session. Sessions cannot take place if we believe you are in a public place.

* Please let us know if you are having any technical difficulties (i.e. webcam not working)

Remote/ online sessions

1. At the agreed date and time you will need click on the URL that has been sent to you: this is the way to access the session. When you click on the URL, a private, secure, chat window will appear, and you will be able to see and hear your worker when they have also clicked on the URL at their end. When you are both logged on, you can speak to each other for the duration of the session.

2. If for any reason you session goes down you can simply log in again and pick up where you left off.

3. As with our face to face services, sessions may not be recorded and are therefore not stored.

4. Any communication that takes place between you and your worker outside of the sessions e.g. ‘I’m going to be 5 minutes late’ must be through your University of Leeds email. For reasons of security and confidentiality the Zoom messaging function is not used as a part of this service.

Application process for remote/online services

You'll need to fill our self-referral form to make a Remote/Online appointment with Student Counselling and Wellbeing. We recognise that it can be difficult to write about what is troubling you, however, your answers help us to understand your situation and direct you to the most appropriate member of our team. Several of the questions are designed to start the process of developing insight and understanding, including what may help you to feel and cope better. For Remote/Online Support it is essential you provide us with all the information requested.

Your counsellor, mental health advisor or wellbeing practitioner will be provided with a copy of your completed online self-referral form before your first meeting. 

In order to receive the service

You must:

  • be currently registered at the University of Leeds, but unable to attend face-to-face appointments.
  • have sole and uninterrupted access to a computer, smartphone or tablet for periods of at least 50 minutes
  • provide a contact telephone number
  • if you are overseas, provide a contact number for an English speaking emergency contact who has agreed to act in this capacity (further details on the self-referral form)

You will be unable to receive remote/ online Support Services if:

  • we believe you to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while using the service
  • it is apparent that there is someone else with you in the room while we are conducting an online session*
  • we believe you are using any form of recording equipment

* Students being supported by a Mental Health Advisor or Wellbeing Practitioner may wish other support staff to be present during their session. Please make us aware of this in advance.

Please complete and submit the Self-Referral Form. Contact us if you are having any trouble filling in the form.

Once we have received your Self-Referral form we will email you within two working days proposing session times within the times you have said you are available. You'll have three working days to tell us whether you wish to accept or need to make changes to these times. If we have not heard from you within three days, we will assume you are no longer seeking this service; you are, however, welcome to contact us again at a later date.

Once we have agreed these dates and times, the worker will send you the URLs for your sessions.

Please note, if you do not give us a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of a cancelled session, the session cannot be rearranged.

+TECHNICAL PROBLEMS

We'll tell you about any potential communication difficulties as soon as we know about them.

If we're having problems with the Zoom software, we will try to tell you by email and give you an appointment for the same time the following week.

If we're unable to email you we will telephone you on the number provided.

When we leave you a message it won't identify us as a service. It will say something like: "This is a message for [your name] from the University. You had an appointment with [staff member's forename] at 11 this morning. We have made another appointment for you (with details)."

Contact us if you believe the security or confidentiality of your connection to us has been in any way compromised.

+CONFIDENTIALITY, DATA PROTECTION, NOTES AND RECORDS 

CONFIDENTIALITY notes and records

We would like to reassure you that as a client of Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential

DATA PROTECTION

We ask permission to keep confidential case records for three years in conformity with Data Protection legislation. This information is kept securely and is confidential to Student Counselling and Wellbeing. We will not disclose your registration with our service with any other university staff, friends or family members without your explicit knowledge and permission. The only exception to this is if we believe you will cause serious harm to yourself or others. In this instance, we will always try to discuss the need to breach confidentiality with you first.

This questionnaire is located on a secure server and is encrypted. The Web address begins with https and has a small padlock icon showing you that the connection is secure. Any answers that you provide on this questionnaire will also be encrypted. This form will take you about 20 minutes to fill out; you may wish to find somewhere private to complete it.

For further information see: Privacy Notice

Zoom’s encrypted conferencing software works via live streaming, so online conversations are not stored or recorded on any server. This is both for security and confidentiality purposes and to ensure parity with our face-to-face service. We do not permit the recording of Remote/online appointments.

You will have to download Zoom’s free software in order to use the service. However, none of your personal data is shared with Zoom.

PROTECTING YOUR OWN CONFIDENTIALITY

Please ensure you are in a private location where you will not be interrupted or overheard for the duration of your appointment. You are responsible for maintaining the security and confidentiality of any materials we send you.

IF YOU'RE USING YOUR OWN COMPUTER/TABLET/SMARTPHONE

Consider whether you can be overlooked/overheard. If you leave your station, no matter how briefly, minimise the page to the bottom of the screen so it cannot be casually seen by others. Also consider whether anyone else has access to your computer or email account. We suggest you protect your computer and email account with a password which you change regularly.

IF YOU'RE USING A SHARED COMPUTER

Consider whether you can be overlooked/overheard. If you leave your station, no matter how briefly, minimise the page to the bottom of the screen so it cannot be casually seen by others. Before you close the computer down at the end of a session, we suggest you delete the browsing history, temporary internet files and cookies so the next user doesn't see that you visited our website.

EMAILS AND EMAIL ATTACHMENTS

We don't provide an email (asynchronous) remote/online service and only use email to arrange appointments. If there's any information you wish us to have in advance of your appointment please include it on the Self-Referral Form. Anything you want to tell us about afterwards can be discussed in a remote/online support session.

FURTHER INFORMATION

We seek to ensure our Remote Online Service meets all the same professional standards of our face to face services.

The Remote Online Service operates from Student Counselling and Wellbeing and is only available during its usual working hours (weekdays 9am-5pm, UK time). In term time, counselling appointments are available on Tuesday weekday evenings up to 7pm, UK time.

We're not able to offer an online out-of-hours or crisis service.

If you find online sessions are not for you, you can cancel appointments at any time by emailing the Student Counselling & Wellbeing

Counselling, Wellbeing and Mental Health support are recognised and well-established practices in the UK and in many other countries. However, we can't be aware of its status in all territories.

ONLINE COUNSELLING

We usually offer contracts of up to four online counselling sessions per person, usually weekly; with each session lasting for 50 minutes.

ONLINE WELLBEING SUPPORT

We usually offer an initial 30 minute wellbeing appointment, followed by up to four additional 45 minute appointments, supplemented by recommended self-help and online resources.

ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH ADVISOR SUPPORT

We usually offer an initial 45 minute assessment appointment, with further appointments and support as necessary.