When you book any form of support with the Student Wellbeing Service you agree to our terms and conditions, including confidentiality and data protection.
- We ask for your student ID because you have to be a current student of the University of Portsmouth to use the Student Wellbeing Service.
- We need your email address and phone number to communicate with you.
- We ask for other information, such as contact details for your doctor, to ensure we offer an accessible, tailored and safe service.
- We ask you to complete regular standard questionnaires about how you are feeling, and use anonymous data to evaluate and report on our effectiveness.
- We store your details and records in a secure electronic system.
- We ask you to give us notice when you can't attend and we keep a record of missed sessions.
- We keep everything confidential except when there is a serious risk or under certain legal circumstances.
Your records are retained on a secure digital management system that is only accessed by the Student Wellbeing Service staff. This is kept for six years and deleted. You have the right to access these records.
Maintaining confidentiality is a top priority so you can feel free to explore things fully. What you say is not disclosed to anyone outside the Student Wellbeing Service without your permission and no one will know that you have contacted us unless you decide to tell them. Your Student Wellbeing Service contact will not be recorded on any academic or medical records.
Exceptions to this confidentiality can be made if we believe that you or others are at risk of serious harm; even then, if possible, the situation will be fully discussed with you. You need to know that it is possible for a court to request to see your records and there are legal requirements on us to disclose if you are involved in terrorism or money laundering, or if we are aware that a child is at risk of abuse.
The University has a longstanding practice of asking all students to provide a name and contact details for a family member or other suitable responsible person that we can contact if there are serious concerns about your welfare. Such concerns would include the accumulation of triggers such as non-attendance at lectures, seminars or other academic activities, a reduction in academic progress, difficulties in accommodation, deterioration of mental health, or hospital admission.
A decision for the University to contact your emergency contact is always considered carefully and taken with the advice of professional staff from the Student Wellbeing Service (SWS) and other relevant senior staff. In the first instance any concerns from staff or students at the university or third parties will be raised with the SWS through our consultation service. Without sharing any confidential information, we offer advice and guidance on the best course of action and what to do next.
We will gather all relevant information from third parties and make contact with you, when necessary, to help you identify people in their life who could provide helpful support, such as family members, partners and/or friends. When necessary, we will support you to make contact with families or others to explain the problem you are having. This may involve planning out conversations or, for example, a practitioner joining you on a phone call, or in a meeting with a family member, to support disclosure.
This leaves the control of sharing with you, but also mobilises your external resources. This practice is consistent with national guidance, which encourages practitioners to work with families and the individual, when the individual wishes it and it is in their interests to do so.
We would always aim to contact others with your explicit consent, in this way, but would do so without consent if we thought this was in your best interests, or would help to keep them safe. Whether or not to share information is based on an assessment by a suitably qualified and trained practitioner of: the level of risk, balancing the factors of the whole situation, what else can be done to reduce risk, whether the student has mental capacity, and whether sharing information without consent will reduce or has the potential to increase risk. Where and to whom information is shared is also part of this risk assessment, and considers emergency services, statutory services, GPs, families and others. Our position regarding information sharing is based on best practice identified in the University Mental Health Charter (Student Minds).
The Service is offering in-person meetings but zoom or phone can be requested if you prefer. When you request an in-person appointment, you undertake not to come in if you have any symptoms or may be infectious. Just let us know and we can convert your appointment to being on zoom or on the phone in these circumstances.
You will be required to wear a face covering at all times in the Student Wellbeing Service, including during the support session.