King’s students wait up to a month for uni mental health counselling services

And they can wait two weeks between appointments

King’s College London students can wait up to a month for an initial appointment with mental health counselling services.

Figures obtained by The Tab reveal the median wait time for an initial appointment with the university’s counselling services is four weeks, with the average being 24.2 days, or three-and-a-half weeks.

These figures also show King’s students wait up to two weeks between appointments for counselling services. The university said this wait time “depends on contract” but takes 7-14 days.

However, the university said students who are “identified as being at risk” are offered fast-track appointments, so “students needing more urgent support are seen usually within five working days”.

Additionally, the number of mental health support staff employed by the university hasn’t changed since the last academic year, despite changing student circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

King’s currently employs 4.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) mental health advisors, 10.9 FTE counsellors/counselling psychologists, and 0.8 consultant psychiatrist. That totals to 16.2 mental health support staff for a student body of over 31,000.

The university said that, in addition to their mental health support staff, it has also “recently invested significantly in out-of-hours telephone counselling support for students.” This is available “from 5pm-9am on weekdays and over weekends and King’s closure periods”, and is provided by an external supplier the university’s mental health service is “working closely with”.

A King’s College London spokesperson said: “The Counselling services at King’s play an important role in supporting our students’ mental health, and like most student counselling services, are in high demand. The team have worked very hard to keep waiting lists and times to a minimum and ensure that we identify not only students with more severe difficulties but also students who think that they might drop out of university or are in their final year and need extra support.

“We have a triage system in place so that students identified as being at risk are offered a fast-track appointment, this means that students needing more urgent support are seen usually within five working days. We also send students confirmation of registration, including a guide time on waiting times and we also ask students to let us know if their situation has deteriorated. At the same time we provide information about crisis services available. We always prioritise those students who are most at risk, final year students and any student who has experienced a recent trauma.

“We have recently invested significantly in out-of-hours telephone counselling support for students who would like to talk about an issue or problem and feel that they cannot wait to see a counsellor. The therapists can provide support, advice and guidance towards a solution. Counselling and Mental Health Support are working closely with the supplier, to ensure that the out-of-hours offer complements in-house CMHS provision.”

You can find more information about King’s mental health services here.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably, for men aged 15 to 35) on 0800 58 58 58.

The Tab’s You Matter campaign is putting a focus on student mental health right now. If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s difficulties with getting uni support, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

You matter.

Read more from The Tab’s You Matter campaign:

I tried to book uni counselling for a week but was told ‘come back tomorrow’ every day

University confessions page admins say suicidal posts have doubled

‘I left halls because of mental health and they told me to drop out or keep paying rent’