This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Mental health'.


 
 
 
13 December 2019 
RECORDS MANAGEMENT SECTION 
 
The University of Edinburgh 
File ref:  T3/39/213 
Old College 
 
South Bridge 
Ms Tilda Coleman 
Edinburgh EH8 9YL 
 
Direct Dial  0131 651 4099 
Sent by email: request-620695-
Switchboard  0131 650 1000 
xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx 
Email  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xx.xx.xx 
Dear Ms Coleman 
Freedom of information request 
Thank you for your email of 16 November 2019 requesting information about student 
mental health. 
The University of Edinburgh is a global university, rooted in Scotland.  We are globally 
recognised for our research, development and innovation and we have provided world-
class teaching to our students for more than 425 years.  We are the largest university in 
Scotland and in 2017/18 our annual revenue was £984 mil ion, of which over £279 mil ion 
was research income.  We have over 41,000 students and more than 15,000 staff.  We 
are a founding member of the UK’s Russell Group of leading research universities and a 
member of the League of European Research Universities. 
Mental health services 
The University is committed to providing a positive academic experience and equality of 
opportunity for all students, and encourages those encountering mental health difficulties 
to make these known to the University.  In 2017 we introduced our Student Mental Health 
Strategy, which articulates the University’s commitment to promoting good mental health 
and supporting students experiencing mental health difficulties.  It sets out the 
University’s vision, objectives, strengths, areas for development, and initiatives to 
implement in the period 2017 to 2019. 
Colleges, Schools, Personal Tutors and Student Support Teams 
The University operates a framework of academic and pastoral support for students 
which comprises a blend of localised provision within schools and colleges, the Personal 
Tutor System, and student support services.  Personal tutors (PTs) assist and encourage 
students in their academic studies and help students to feel part of a community of 
learners.  One of the main responsibilities of student support teams (SSTs) is to provide 
appropriate information to students, which can include directing students to local and 
central support services.  Academic and pastoral support within a school or college is 
provided to all its students.  Each school informs their students about the academic and 
pastoral support available to them and how to access it.  Schools identify when and 
UNIVERSITY SECRETARY  Ms Sarah Smith 
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336 
 

 
where the need for targeted support may be at its most acute and concentrate provision 
accordingly.  Information for personal tutors and student support teams describing their 
roles and the central support available to students is available from the personal tutors’ 
and student support teams’ website. 
The mental health support provision provided by the University is intended to supplement 
and enhance, rather than replace or duplicate, NHS provision. 
The Advice Place 
The Edinburgh University Students' Association's Advice Place offers students free, 
impartial and confidential information delivered by a professional advice team.  The 
Edinburgh Students’ Association website provides more information about the support 
available for students from the Advice Place. 
The Students’ Association is a separate legal entity from the University of Edinburgh, and 
is not a ‘Scottish public authority’ as defined by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) 
Act 2002.  This means that the University is unable to answer requests for information 
held by the Students’ Association, and the Students’ Association itself is not subject to 
the legislation.  
Student Disability Service 
The Student Disability Service (SDS) provides support to students with mental health 
conditions in a number of ways depending on the student's study needs.  SDS can tailor 
a learning profile of adjustments for students which can include adjustments such as 
extra time in exams, extensions, lecture slides in advance, permission to record lectures, 
and equipment to study at home.  SDS can also suggest study skil s support for students 
if appropriate.  This might be through the University's Institute of Academic Development 
study skil s tutors, which are available to all students or through one of their Mental 
Health Mentors who offer emotional and study skil s support to students with significant 
and long-standing mental health issues which impact on the students’ course of 
study.  Further information about the Service is available on the Student Disability 
Service website. 
Chaplaincy 
The University’s Chaplaincy provides pastoral and spiritual support for students and staff 
of all faiths and none.  Support includes the provision of mindfulness meditation sessions, 
tai chi and yoga classes, various religious services and prayer sessions, opportunities for 
individual meetings with chaplains, and discussions and events which touch on mental 
health.  The Chaplaincy website provides details of the facilities, classes and support 
available. 
University Counselling Service 
The University Counselling Service provides free confidential professional counselling 
service to staff and all matriculated students of the University of Edinburgh.  The Service 
also seeks to enhance and encourage the emotional well-being and mental health of 
University of Edinburgh students and those who support them.  The Service seeks to 
reach this objective by facilitating personal development and psychoeducational groups 
and workshops for students; encouraging students to support themselves through the 
Bibliotherapy Scheme and other online resources; offering advice and support to 

 

 
academic staff concerned for the mental and emotional well-being of their students; and 
contributing to training and development programmes organised for staff and students by 
other departments of the University.  The University has signed up to the Big White Wall 
initiative which allows University of Edinburgh students free access to 24 hour 
psychological support online.  The Service offers some form of help to all students who 
approach them.  The nature of the help depends on the outcome of the initial 
appointment between student and counsellor.  The University Counselling Service 
website provides details of the services and how students can access support. 
The University Counselling Service is an organisational member of the British 
Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  This is the leading professional 
body for counsellors and psychotherapists in the United Kingdom, with approximately 
44,000 members.  Since 2006 the Service has had Accredited Service status awarded by 
the BACP.  The BACP Service Accreditation Scheme provides status and validation for 
the accredited service, and also provides robust evidence of service quality and 
professionalism.  In addition, accredited services are bound by the BACP Ethical 
Framework for the Counselling Professions.  All BACP Accredited Services have 
demonstrated a high quality of service delivery, meeting benchmark standards that are 
maintained by annual monitoring and reporting. 
The University Counselling Service also provides training for Personal Tutors, Student 
Support Officers, other academic staff as well as welfare staff in the Students' 
Association aimed at helping staff support and refer students who have mental and 
emotional health problems.  Accommodation Services has a Residence Life Team who 
wil  support students living in University Managed Accommodation and link them with 
other University services as appropriate. Al  staff are made aware of the 'Helping 
Distressed Students' guide which aids staff supporting students in distress or crisis. 
Requested information 
For academic years 2008/09 to 2018/19, you asked for the number of students who 
intermitted for issues related to mental health, the number of these students who 
returned to resume their studies after one year, and the number who never returned to 
the University.  We have interpreted your request as relating to authorised interruption of 
studies, information about which is available on the University website.  If you intended 
for your request to relate to intermittent study, please let me know. 
A student taking an authorised interruption of study must ask their Student Support 
Officer to submit an authorised interruption of study request form along with any 
supporting evidence.  A reason for the request is required.  While a student may have a 
combination of reasons, only one from a predetermined list can be recorded on the 
system.  The list of reasons for authorised interruption of studies recorded on our system 
includes information under two relevant categories: ‘Serious health reason’ and ‘Other 
health reason’.  However, this is not broken down with a specific reference to mental 
health.  This means we do not hold information to answer your question as currently 
framed.  Please let me know, however, if you wish to receive information about these 
categories. 
You also asked, for the same period, for the number of students who used counselling 
services provided by the University, broken down by type of issue.  I have provided 
information in relation to the University Counselling Service in table 1 on the enclosure. 

 

 
The University Counselling Service records student issues according to a scheme shared 
with other student counselling services in the UK who are members of our professional 
body, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy – Universities and 
Colleges (BACP – UC), a division of BACP.  In this scheme, students’ presenting issues 
are recorded against 15 main categories, and at the assessment session the counsellor 
identifies the presenting issues which reflect the main topic of the student’s concern.  
Students may present with a number of issues. 
There has been a rise in demand for counsel ing services over this time period.  This 
increase can be attributed to several factors, including: the success of the relocation of 
the Service to the Main Library – making the Service more visible and accessible; the 
overall increase in the student population; a merger between the University of Edinburgh 
and Edinburgh College of Art; and the perceived value of the Service among students 
and stakeholders. 
You will see on the enclosure that I have not provided the exact number where the 
number is fewer than five.  This is because disclosing these low numbers could enable 
individuals to be identified.  This would breach the data protection principles set out in 
data protection legislation.  The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 does not 
require us to provide this sort of information as it is exempt under section 38(1)(b). 
Right to review 
If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask the University to conduct a review 
of this decision by contacting the University's Records Management Section in writing 
(e.g. by letter or email) or in some other recorded form (e.g. audio or video tape).  You 
should describe the original request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include 
an address for correspondence.  You have 40 working days from receipt of this letter to 
submit a review request.  The contact details for the Records Management Section are at 
the top of this letter.  When the review process has been completed, if you are stil  
dissatisfied, you may use the Scottish Information Commissioner’s guidance on making 
an appeal to make an appeal to the Commissioner.  If you do not have access to the 
Internet, please let me know and I wil  provide a copy of the relevant web pages. 
Privacy notice for information request applicants 
The University of Edinburgh's request privacy notice, which describes how we use the 
information you have supplied about yourself and your request, is published on the 
University website. 
Yours sincerely  
Rob Don 
Information Compliance Officer 
 
Enc. Table 1: Primary presenting issue of students seeking support from the University 
Counsel ing Service, 2008/09 to 2018/19 
 

 

 
If you require this letter in an alternative format, such as large print or 
a coloured background, please contact the Records Management 
Section on 0131 651 4099 or email xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xx.xx.xx 

 

Table 1: Primary presenting issue of students seeking support from the University Counselling Service, 2008/09 to 2018/19
Presenting issue
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
Abuse
27
35
27
45
40
63
72
87
131
157
129
Academic
114
99
84
134
188
204
219
249
268
246
238
Addictive behaviours
5
<5
<5
7
9
11
14
33
23
32
23
Anxiety
200
168
182
298
371
389
623
965
845
966
924
Depression and mood change or disorder
158
173
171
270
306
331
405
663
565
698
601
Eating Disorders
23
22
13
34
33
38
37
66
63
57
56
Loss
85
76
80
106
119
138
153
170
174
247
243
Other mental health conditions
17
20
14
13
26
22
39
69
53
92
78
Physical health
12
23
24
30
23
44
35
61
75
81
64
Relationships
102
105
99
158
155
214
205
283
300
355
299
Self-harm 
5
<5
6
11
12
21
32
78
81
169
161
Self and identity
99
113
102
165
195
179
198
334
367
485
325
Sexual issues
5
<5
<5
7
<5
6
10
10
8
22
10
Transitions
21
20
18
32
40
48
65
85
80
79
70
Welfare and employment
0
0
<5
<5
5
10
<5
14
9
16
14
University of Edinburgh
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