I used the Cardiff University Mental Health services and this is what happened
The entire process of booking an appointment took nearly a month
With spending of £19.48 per student, and widespread reports of long waiting times, Cardiff University’s mental health services have come under fire recently. A recent survey by the Tab saw them ranked 25th out of 30 universities who responded.
This was my experience.
I walked into the Wellbeing & Counselling centre at 50 Park Place to book an appointment for a therapeutic consultation – a 90 minute first appointment to confidentially discuss issues and concerns with a counsellor. However, I was turned away and told to go to the international students office in the Students Union instead as I am a U.S. resident and they could only help U.K. students. I immediately walked to the International Students office and explained what I needed to the woman in that office. She looked confused and told me to go back to 50 Park Place.
After speaking to two different people for a few minutes, they agreed to let me see someone, still not completely understanding why I was there. From then on, another 5 minutes passed by and I was let into a small office room where I spoke to a woman about my reasons for wanting to book an appointment. We sat down together and filled out the extensive online form and requested that I get an appointment as soon as possible.
I got an email and text confirming that they had received my questionnaire form. They explained that I had to call them within 2 working days between 9am – 4:30pm if I wanted to book an appointment.
The following Tuesday I called 50 Park Place. They told me that the earliest appointment slot was on the 2nd of December – nearly 3 weeks later. After speaking to the woman on the phone about needing to see someone sooner, I was told that there were no earlier dates available and reluctantly booked the appointment on 2nd December
Finally, I went back to 50 Park Place for my therapeutic consultation. There, I had to fill out one more page of personal information and was sent upstairs to meet with someone. The counsellor had a cozy office with two comfortable sofas on one side of the room. In the middle was a table with a box of tissues and two glasses of water.
After the 90 minutes, the counsellor explained that I needed to book appointments online for any follow-up sessions and asked me to fill out a short, anonymous questionnaire.
Although it took an incredible amount of patience to get there, I have to admit that I was impressed by the quality of the 90 minute session. The counsellor seemed to genuinely care and took time to explore possible solutions. It worked out perfectly.
However, some students cannot afford to wait as long and they may ultimately choose not to seek help because of the long and complicated process. This is why the Student Counselling, Health, and Wellbeing service at Cardiff University still needs to improve.
The entire process of booking the appointment took nearly a month. Despite this, I would still recommend the counselling services offered here to other students. Once you actually manage to book an appointment, there are counsellors there who genuinely care; they’ll take you seriously and do everything they can. If you need help finding a solution or just need someone who will listen, they’re there to lend a hand.
For a list of all the mental health services available to Cardiff students, check out our Cardiff Mental Health Handbook.