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Staff Helpline & Counselling Service

If you’re looking for a practical way forward to a problem, please call the confidential helpline on 0800 028 1947 or visit Health Assured (username: Sheffield, password: University)


Balancing everyday life together with the requirements of work and home can create pressures for all of us. To assist you in achieving this balance, the staff helpline and counselling service can help you find practical ways forward when you feel overwhelmed by problems.

The staff helpline and counselling service is provided by an independent external provider, Health Assured and is a means for all staff and their immediate families to access practical help, information, advice and support to address and resolve problems and issues they may be facing at home or at work. The service is free, independent, confidential and available 24 hours a day and Health Assured's advisors are highly trained to quickly find what you need and help you get back in control of your life.

You may wish to use this service for independent advice on a range of issues that may be affecting you at any one time. You may also wish to utilise this service for access to telephone or face to face counselling.

For more information on the service, please see the overview below or contact staffwellbeing@sheffield.ac.uk.


How could counselling help me?

Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows you to talk about your problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. This may be for a one off concern or for an issue that requires a series of conversations. It can provide a safe space for you to talk and explore difficult feelings. The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems.

Please note that the counselling service is fully inclusive of sexual orientation issues, including instances of homophobic and biphobic bullying.

Who is Health Assured?

Health Assured is the leading Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider in the UK dealing with many of the UK’s leading organisations across private, public and non-profit sectors. They have vast experience and a proven track record in delivering innovative and robust solutions which benefit employees.

What happens when I call the helpline?

When you phone Health Assured, you will be greeted by music followed by a recorded message explaining that you are through to the University of Sheffield Health Assured employee assistance helpline and that your call will be treated as confidential. You will then hear some music while your call is directed to one of the telephone advisers or counsellors.

The diagram below helps to explain what happens next during your call:

An image depicting the referral pathway when an employee calls the helpline

How do I access face to face counselling?

During your initial telephone call, your suitability for counselling will be considered by the telephone counsellor and you will be given more information about the most appropriate plan for you. This could be telephone counselling or face to face counselling appointments.

The number of sessions you receive will vary depending on your presenting issue and progress however you may have up to 8 counselling sessions, per issue, per annum. If another form of help would seem to be more appropriate, the counsellor will discuss other options and point you in the right direction.

The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems whether these be personal difficulties or work-related issues.

If you do not feel able to call the helpline, you can still access the service by:

  • Submitting a self-referral form via email. Health Assured will then match you to a counsellor within the next 3-5 business days. You can also find the referral form in the ‘downloads’ section on the right hand side of this page.
  • Your manager, a member of your Faculty HR team, or a member of the Staff Wellbeing Team can submit a referral on your behalf online, here. Your written consent will be required to make the referral. Please note, in the 'Referral Type' drop down box, please select 'EAP Referral'.
  • You can use the live-chat function on Health Assured’s website or app (please see more information below) to talk directly with a counsellor.

Where do face to face counselling sessions take place?

You are asked in the initial call, where you are based and could travel to, this is to facilitate the most appropriate local counsellor to place you with. All subsequent counselling sessions will take place with the same counsellor, at the same location, unless notified of any changes once the series of sessions are underway. Sessions will take place at a mutually convenient time.

Please note, due to the impact of Covid-19, all counselling sessions are taking place telephonically. However, Health Assured are currently trialling online video counselling and this is something that they hope to be able to offer in the future.

What happens in a face to face counselling session?

The initial meeting usually involves contracting and initial enquiry and introduction, as well as housing an opportunity for you to ask any questions so that you are comfortable with the structure of the sessions. Throughout your sessions the counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems whether these be personal difficulties or work-related issues.

a close up image of 2 people talking

I have a protected characteristic, is this service applicable to me?

Please note that the helpline is inclusive to all those individuals with a protected characteristic, for example it is applicable to sexual orientation issues, including homophobic bullying and harassment. Health Assured is a member of the Diversity Champions programme, run by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall.

I am deaf/hard of hearing, can I access counselling?

If you are unable to access the counselling service via telephone, you can submit a self-referral form via email. Health assured will then match you to a counsellor within the next 3-5 business days. You can find the referral form in the 'downloads' section on the right hand side of this page.

Will there be any feedback to third parties?

Due to this being an independent and confidential service, your information and anything you discuss in sessions is treated as personal sensitive data, and will only be shared with the University with your consent.

Can my family access this service?

Immediate family members such as spouses, partners and children aged 16-24 in full time education, living in the same household can access welfare advice and counselling (legal support is exempt here).

Is there a way to access this resource online?

image of a hand holding a phone with the health assured logo onHealth Assured Website

Health Assured's online portal contains engaging and useful information and advice on a wide range of wellbeing topics. The portal also has a live chat function that allows you to speak to a counsellor directly without calling the helpline. To access the Health Assured website visit www.healthassuredeap.co.uk.

Once you have entered the site you will be prompted for the below login details:
Username: Sheffield
Password: University

Health Assured App

Health Assured also have a new Mobile App, My Healthy Advantage which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play using the following employer code when prompted: MHA000149.

The app is free for you as an employee to use and offers wellbeing webinars, a daily mood checker, articles and 4 week plans, as well as a live chat function that allows you to speak with a counsellor directly.

What other areas of my wellbeing can the service support me with?

Health Assured can provide support for a wide range of issues, including those listed below:

List of issues Health Assured can provide support on

Is there anyone I can contact for more information on this service?

This is a confidential service, so you may wish to call the helpline directly for any personal enquiries.

If you do have any questions about the service itself, please email staffwellbeing@sheffield.ac.uk for further information.