September 22, 2020, by Issy

How do I get pastoral support virtually?

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as if the whole world has gone virtual, doesn’t it? I know for people like myself, the worry about perhaps not being able to access support is a real one, but  as it turns out, I don’t have to be, as, like so many aspects of our lives at the moment, the support services the university offers has been adapted to be virtually accessible. Here are a few ways how you too can access university support from the comfort of your own home.

Personal Tutor

As your first point of call for academic and pastoral issues that may arise, it’s really important to be able to maintain contact with them, and this has been made possible through the platform of Microsoft Teams. Although email contact is possible, just as it were before the pandemic, sometimes when an issue arises, emails just aren’t the best way to discuss it, so Teams allows either a voice or video chat with your tutor to be able to maintain that ‘personal’ element to your meetings. The more you do teams meetings, the more you get used to video calls – I now tend to prefer them to voice calls! Never thought I would say that!

Website resources

  • Healthy U, which focuses on ways to get active and develop positive mental wellbeing through physical wellbeing at university has a page of resources such as information on sexual health and wellbeing, eating well (something I can’t say I’ve been particularly good at during lockdown!), keeping active and substance usage amongst many other things.
  • The University has developed a page on wellbeing specifically during the coronavirus pandemic which are really useful and tailored to the current situation. Particularly, there is a subsection on Looking After Yourself as an International Student which must be especially difficult right now, and relevant to so many students, due to Nottingham having such a diverse and vibrant international community.
  • The University Counselling Service has a section on their website of Self Help resources which may be useful for any student wishing to find resources to deal with a variety of things, from stress to anxiety surrounding the ‘new normal’ campus life.

Teams you are able to contact

Instead of normal face to face appointments, the following teams are offering virtual appointments for students wishing to use their services:

  • University Counselling Service – Offering free support via telephone calls – the link to book an assessment can be found here.
  • Mental Health Advisory Service – this Service is usually referral only for those students with significant and complex mental health issues, but in these extraordinary times, they are currently accepting self referral requests for mental health advice via email.
  • Student Services Health and Wellbeing teams from each school are available to contact – as the services have moved online, you can request to be out in contact with the appropriate team from your school using this enquiry form
  • GP – last but not least, Cripps Health Centre are still offering appointments – they will initially offer a telephone appointment: if the doctor deems it necessary, they may request you come to the health centre in person. They can be called on 0115 846 8888, or an appointment made online via the NHS app (I love this app – it’s great if you’re like me and aren’t a fan of ringing up to book appointments!)

So, hopefully you can see that there are so many ways to access the same support, and the same quality of support, in this new virtual world we find ourselves in: you will still be looked after and supported to get the best out of your University experience.


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