Universities and Colleges

Within London there are 39 higher education providers and nearly 390,000 students.

There is a mixed picture of IAPT working with students and young people, and IAPT services with large student populations and universities within the borough are more likely to have a targeted service or approach to working with this population group. Many IAPT services have developed good working relationships with the local university counselling service, jointly delivering workshops to students. [Please note there is significant overlap with the ‘Specific population groups: students and young people’ section of these resources

A few examples are below:

  • Harrow is offering resilience workshops at local colleges, targeting mature students and teachers.
  • Kingston have 1 PWP and 1 HIT running weekly clinics at Kingston University Wellbeing Service, offering individual therapy sessions. The partnership has been ongoing for about 2 years.
  • Havering IAPT have recently established links with Havering College and will soon be embedded in the college’s wellbeing service, having a clinical room there to provide psychological therapies. The service also delivered stress management group sessions at the College. They have a regular feature on the University of East London bulletin.
  • Newham IAPT service has developed good relationships with the University of East London, with therapists based at the university within the student health departments. Hold workshops for young people to learn about IAPT and self-refer.
  • Camden and Islington iCOPE provide a ‘University Clinic’ at University College London (UCL), covering topics such as exam stress. It sits alongside the in-house UCL counselling service. Camden PWPs run workshops with clinical psychologists at UCL.
  • Lewisham IAPT have two practitioners (1 PWP and 1 HI CBT therapist) on site at Goldsmiths College (or remotely, during Covid). The therapists work closely with Goldsmiths College, the university counselling service and the GP practice where most students are registered.
  • County Durham The IAPT service has developed a good relationship with Durham University’s counselling service over 10 years and is embedded within it. They have developed a rapid referral route from the University into Durham IAPT, and a handover process for the patient. The IAPT service has developed a shared assessment process with the University counselling team. The IAPT team deliver psychotherapy clinics out of the University, which reduces the stigma of accessing mental health services and also reduces the barrier to entry for students. [see case study]
  • Westminster IAPT liaise closely with counselling and wellbeing services and unions at King’s College London and Imperial College Universities. King’s health centre is the largest referral centre to the IAPT service.

Challenges include:

  • Some IAPT services have found working with universities to be quite political, depending on levels of resource and funding within the university’s own counselling service.
  • Commissioning boundaries affect access to IAPT services, as many students are not resident in the same borough as the university they attend.
  • Since Covid-19 many students have gone home – and sometimes home is in USA or Europe. This has created problems re: insurance when providing therapy.