Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to common questions about accessing mental health support at the University of Sheffield.


What is SAMHS?

SAMHS helps you access the right mental health support for you from one initial appointment. If you need support with your mental health at any point during your time at Sheffield, you can register for SAMHS online with just a few details.

Appointments last for 30 - 50 minutes and you will discuss your individual situation with an experienced mental health worker. They help you navigate the many support options and together you will agree on a plan of action, tailored for you.


I need help urgently/I'm experiencing an emergency.

We're unable to provide an emergency service or response to crises of an acute/urgent nature. If you, or the person you're concerned about, need to see or talk to someone immediately, see:


Who can use the service?

All students at the University of Sheffield are able to make use of our services.

One-to-one counselling and group work is via referral only through Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS).

However, our online self-help is still provided without needing to register.

We do not make any discriminations against age, race, gender, nationality, ethnicity or any other aspect of your personal/private life.


How do I make an appointment?

Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) is a single point of entry service for students at the University.

All students who need support with their mental wellbeing will register online for a SAMHS triage appointment. At a triage appointment, a range of options are considered one of which might be counselling.

You register online first. We'll process this within two working days. We'll then send you an email acknowledgment asking you to book. You'll then be offered an assessment 'Triage' appointment.

If you have access requirements - a visual impairment or a mobility request - ensure this is noted in your Registration.


What happens after I register?

After two working days, you'll receive an email from the SAMHS Admin Team inviting you to book into a triage assessment by phoning us on 0114 222 4134 or by emailing in on samhs@sheffield.ac.uk with your availability.


What are the service Opening Hours?

You can contact us from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm.

Times may change dependent on vacation periods, bank holidays and festive closure periods (between Christmas and New Year).

Closure days will be announced on our Contact Us page.


What can I expect from my Triage appointment with SAMHS?

Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) service will allocate each student a 45 minute 'Triage' assessement appointment to talk privately with a practitioner.

This appointment is a confidential session with the clinician.

Usually you'll be asked to provide a brief overview of why you are seeking support, the day-to-day impact the issue is having on your health and to disclose any medication you may be taking already.

We'll also be interested in your academic studies and the general coping strategies you have used so far.

Significant life events, family and peer relationships as well as your support networks will also be touched upon. Your counsellor may take notes.

Essentially, the clinician (counsellors and/or mental health assessment workers) will be evaluating what support or intervention we can offer. This may include self-help, further appointments, groups/workshops or something else externally that we cannot offer.

At the end of the session, you and your clinician will discuss how best to proceed.

Remember, if there's anything you're unsure about, just ask your clinician.


What can I do while waiting for my Triage appointment?

You can access Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall), which is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programmes, creative outlets and an online community, monitored by therapists 24/7. Our Togetherall page has information on how to gain immediate access.

There are also several listening helplines available where you can talk to someone who is non-judgmental and will not try to offer you solutions. Samaritans is open 24/7 and can be accessed by dialling 116 123 on any phone. Nightline is open 8PM-8AM and is a peer led listening service at the University of Sheffield, which also includes an instant messenger listening service.

If you need to see someone urgently, please access help from your GP. Visit our the page below for more information:


How are you offering appointments remotely?

During Covid, triage appointments are currently held remotely. If you've registered with us you'll be booked into either a Telephone or Google Meet appointment with one of our clinicians. Under normal circumstances, the majority of appointments are offered face-to-face at one of our buildings on campus.

If you have a strong preference between the two, please mention this on your initial online registration form under 'access requirements' or mention at the point of booking or email samhs@sheffield.ac.uk before your appointment day.


How do I cancel or rearrange my appointment?

If you do have a an appointment arranged with us and you wish to cancel or re-arrange your appointment, please email SAMHS@sheffield.ac.uk or call us on 0114 222 4134.


What forms do I have to complete before my appointment?

The CCAPS questionnaire is a standard evaluation tool for informing our work with students at SAMHS and UCS. We usually use either a GREEN form, or a BLUE form, and you will be told which form to complete before your appointment. This helps to support your appointment and so we appreciate you completing this form.

Your initial CCAPS form (the GREEN form) contains 62 tick box questions around how you have been feeling over the past two weeks. Again, not all questions are mandatory but we encourage you to complete the form as best you can. It's important that you complete your questionnaire as close to your appointment as possible, so it accurately captures how you are feeling.

The answers help shape your appointment and give your clinician an insight into how you arefeeling at the moment. This form is the longest form that we ask you to complete, and you'c only usually be asked to complete this before your very first appointment.

If it's recommended that you have a counselling or follow-up appointment with us, you may be asked to complete a further CCAPS form (the BLUE form); this form is shorter and contains 34 tick box questions.


Why do I need to complete forms before my appointment?

When people accessed the Service at Wilkinson St/ Glossop Road in person, we'd ask them to complete a CCAPS form before their appointment and now we are asking that they complete the form at home.

Full instructions will be given beforehand and we will send you a link by text and/ or email before your appointment time allowing you plenty of time to complete the forms beforehand.


What if I am unable to complete the forms that you send me?

Firstly, don't panic! If you're having technical issues or there's any other reason that you're unable to complete the forms before your appointment, please let the admin team know by emailing SAMHS@sheffield.ac.uk and we'll pass this onto your clinician.

Please be assured that this will not affect your appointment.

Again, remember Safari and Internet Explorer are not compatible with our forms so please use Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser.


Can I request specifically to see a male or female professional?

Yes, of course. It's absolutely natural that you might feel more comfortable with a professional from a specific background. We will do our best to meet this need, however this is related to the demographic make-up of the team and the availability of individuals.

If we're experiencing a large number of requests for appointments, it may delay how quickly you can be seen. If you require urgent support, please always seek help through your GP.


I'm worried I'm not 'bad enough' to get support?

It's difficult to judge your mental health against anyone else's, as everyone's situations are so unique. If you're struggling, please don't hesitate to seek support from your GP, or from SAMHS by registering for a triage appointment.


I need support with autistic spectrum, ADHD, specific learning difficulties (eg dyslexia), sensory impairment or physical disability - is SAMHS the right place to go?

If you need support with anything on this list or you're already seeking support from DDSS and wish to discuss it, please contact DDSS directly for help with arranging support.


What is counselling?

Counselling offers an opportunity to think and talk in confidence about difficulties, experiences, feelings, fears, thoughts, anxieties and problems that may be concerning you now or have done in the past.


Do you offer CBT?

We do now offer some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with specific Counsellors, please speak to your triaging clinician about how to access these.

In addition to this, CBT counselling can be accessed through your GP and/ or the University Health Service.


How long will I have to wait to see a counsellor?

Following your triage with Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) service, you may be referred for ongoing counselling.

When using SAMHS during one of our busy periods your wait may be slightly longer than normal (October-November and February-March).


I am worried about a friend – what should I do?

Concerns about a fellow student should be lodged with SSiD (0114 222 1299) who can then manage your enquiry and escalate to the Student Support & Guidance team if appropriate.

However, if you're feeling the strain and feel a sense of burden yourself, you may wish to talk this through with someone at SAMHS.We can offer you practical advice.

If the situation is causing adverse effects on your mental health (triggering your own stress, anxiety or low mood) book a triage appointment with us.


How long does each session last?

After registration, your first triage appointment lasts for 45 minutes. You'll be asked to complete online clinical forms on the day of your appointment.
If you continue to have further counselling with us the appointments last for 50 minutes.


How many sessions will I be offered/need?

The number of counselling sessions offered can vary and depends on:

  • the individual concerned and the counsellor's opinion of dealing with the issue
  • factors such as your case history

It's often usual to contract to meet for an agreed number of sessions, lasting for 50 minutes each, on a regular basis.

With some clients, one session will be sufficient to resolve the problem and with others the counselling relationship can last somewhat longer.


Who can I talk to about giving feedback?

Whether you have a compliment or complaint, we'd like to hear your feedback about SAMHS or UCS.

For example, we appreciate that sometimes the client-therapist relationship isn't always easy. As a client you're welcome to voice any concerns or queries (such as changing counsellor) with the managers of the service.

Please email us with your compliments or complaints to SAMHS@sheffield.ac.uk or ring us on 0114 222 4134.


What if talking therapies aren't for me?

Counselling and talking therapies don't suit everyone. For this reason, we recommend students consider alternatives such as self-help. This can enable you to work at your own pace, using your own intuition and being self-reflective in understanding your own behaviour. You can find more information on our self-help pages.

Please note that self-help is intended for low-level concerns. If you're struggling to manage your wellbeing please speak to your GP (e.g. UHS) in the first instance.


What if I'm studying overseas?

If you're not currently in the UK we encourage you to access the support available to you in your local area.


How confidential is the service?

Our services adhere to the confidentiality agreement set out in our Client Contract.

Our services will not pass any of your client information to others in the University or any other third party without your permission except in very rare circumstances when information may be shared with others i.e. when you are a risk to yourself or others.

All our clinicians are professionally trained and work within the ethical guidelines of their professional bodies.


Do you keep information about me and can I access it?

We maintain records in order to provide a professional, effective and safe service. Our record keeping practices conform with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the University Policy on Data Protection.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you have certain rights to access records held about you. If you wish to see your records your clinician will be able to give you information about the University Policy on access to records.

For full information about Confidentiality, Record Keeping and Data Protection please see:


How do I find the main UCS building?

UCS is located at 36 Wilkinson Street, within 5 minutes walking distance from the main University Campus.

If approaching from Glossop Road or by Bar One (Student Union bar, back entrance/exit):

On Glossop Road, cross over the road and walk down the small ‘No Entry’ street almost opposite - this is Brunswick Street.
From here, take the first left onto Wilkinson Street. UCS building is signposted - we are the second building on the left.
For an aerial view of the surrounding area, look at Google Maps.

Please visit the page below for our Opening Hours:


How do I access a letter to support an Extenuating Circumstance form?

The University has updated its guidelines in relation to evidence required when submitting Extenuating Circumstance forms. This means that in many cases you can now self certify (even if it is not in relation to COVID 19).

Please read through the new guidelines before submitting a letter request to the Service.


Further questions?

If you have any other questions, please email SAMHS@sheffield.ac.uk or call us on 0114 222 4134.

For staff information on SAMHS please see our Staff Information page (staff login required)