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Counselling and Mental Health Service

 
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Providing letters in support of mitigation

 

Students accessing the Counselling and Mental Health Service present for a wide range of issues and at times these issues may interfere with a students’ ability to meet academic commitments. A department may take these circumstances into consideration when reviewing marks, offering deadline extensions or the possibility of re-sitting exams; however it is likely that they will require written evidence.


Counsellors and mental health advisors may provide a letter for consideration as evidence of mitigation if the issues disclosed by the student are likely to have affected their academic performance and the student has engaged with the service in an attempt to manage the situation and there has been an ongoing relationship with the Counselling and Mental Health Service prior to the time when mitigation is requested. Generally, this involves having attended counselling for 3 or more sessions close to the period in time for which the student wishes to establish that their studies were affected. 


The counsellor/mental health advisor will discuss the content of the letter with the student, prior to preparing it, and at all times will endeavour to show the completed letter to the student and receive their agreement before sending it to the requested recipient.


Letters cannot be written where there has been no engagement with the service and students should not be encouraged to attend counselling solely for the purpose of receiving a letter of mitigation. This approach often results in a lack of commitment on the part of the student and takes up valuable departmental resources that could be used more effectively.


If a student does not wish to commit to or engage in counselling, but feels events have impacted on their academic performance, it may be more appropriate for them to see Kate Deeming, the Student Wellbeing Advisor.  Kate will discuss their situation and determine if a supporting statement can be provided. Appointments with Kate can be made via the Base or by emailing welfare@lancaster.ac.uk.


Students can request letters directly from their counsellor or mental health advisor whilst participating in sessions; alternatively a letter can be requested in writing to counselling@lancaster.ac.uk, stating the intended recipient, their email address and department and the deadline for submission of evidence.

 

During the summer term, letters in support of mitigating circumstances should be requested as early as possible, and no later than 16th May.  We will endeavour to action any requests received after this date but we cannot guarantee they will be completed in time. In all cases, students should confirm the final dates for submission with their individual departments.

 

 

 

 

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