We're becoming increasingly concerned about the planned downgrading or outsourcing of embedded University counselling services, as reported in today’s Guardian 

We know that university students experience the psychological and developmental needs common to the wider population. When this is combined with the need to adapt to a new environment without their usual social supports, the demands of their courses, added financial pressures and peer pressure to misuse drugs and alcohol, issues arise. Many students experience psychological distress to a level that impacts on their studies.

Left unsupported, this psychological distress and mental health problems can lead to students dropping out of university or failing to reach their full academic or personal potential. It can also lead to long term effects on self-esteem and future life-chances, and create ongoing mental health issues through their lives.

In a context where students need to attend lectures, meet assignment and exam deadlines and, for many, hold down additional employment, it is important that counselling is provided promptly to address problems in a timely manner.

We've long held a commitment to support all students studying in further and higher education, and are particularly mindful of the significant number of students who experience mental health difficulties during their studies. We also have an active, specialist Universities and Colleges division for those involved in managing and delivering counselling services in further and higher education.

With one in four students experiencing mental health difficulties during their studies, specialist counsellors, embedded within universities and colleges and dedicated to providing student support, are needed more than ever.

If you'd like to register your interest in supporting our activity to protect and increase embedded counselling services within further and higher education, please email uc@bacp.co.uk.