Disability and mental health support
Who do we support?
What support is available?
Registering with the Disability & Mental Health team and evidence required
Disclosure and Confidentiality
Disabled Students’ Allowances
Mental Health Support
Frequently Asked Questions
Information for DSA Needs Assessors
Information for non-medical helpers
The University of West London is committed to ensuring that disabled people are provided with equal access to their chosen course of study and facilities at the University.
The University recognises the social model of disability, whereby the individual is understood to be disadvantaged not by their disability, but by social barriers such as the physical environment, methods of communication and prejudicial attitudes. The University is committed to working towards removing these barriers, and developing a fully inclusive learning and teaching environment for all students.
UWL aims to anticipate the requirements of disabled students by integrating universal design into the curriculum and planning processes. We will seek to make reasonable adjustments where possible in order to enable disabled students to reach their full potential at university.
The Wellbeing Team provides confidential, specialist advice and guidance to all students, staff and applicants on a range of disability and mental health topics.
We support students with a wide range of disabilities, including but not limited to:
- specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD)
- mental health difficulties (such as depression, bi-polar disorder)
- long-term medical conditions (such as HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis)
- unseen disabilities (such as diabetes, asthma, epilepsy)
- sensory impairments (such as visual impairment, hearing impairment)
- mobility or physical impairments (such as paralysis, arthritis).
Once a student is registered with the Wellbeing Team, a range of support and reasonable adjustments are available to students based on their individual requirements. Some examples of what may be available, could include:
- information on disability support and reasonable adjustments at the University
- information on additional funding which disabled students may be eligible to apply for, such as Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)
- advice and information on arranging a diagnostic assessment for specific learning difficulties
- tailored Individual Support Plans (ISPs)
- reasonable adjustments for examinations
- assistance in arranging non-medical helpers (such as note-takers and mentors)
- a library service to provide books in alternative formats to disabled students who cannot access printed materials
- extended Library book loans
- access to a range of assistive technology and specialist software in the Library and across all campuses
To request a book in an alternative format, please complete the Alternative Format Request form.
The first step to accessing support is to register with the Wellbeing Team. By registering with the team you will be able to discuss your support needs with an advisor and also discuss putting an individual support plan in place.
What is an ISP?
The Individual Support Plan is a document which sets out what support you require to enable you to access your course equally and fairly in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. The purpose of the ISP is also to inform tutors of what reasonable adjustments they can make to support you on your course. The ISP also sets out what exam concessions you require and some other supports that you are entitled to access in the university.
The ISP would be written collaboratively with yourself and an advisor from the Wellbeing Team. By working in this way we are able to make it personalised to you and your specific needs.
In order to put support in place evidence of a student’s disability must be confirmed in writing by an appropriately qualified professional.
- students with a disability or mental health difficulty must provide a recent letter from a GP, consultant or another suitably qualified medical specialist, such as a mental health practitioner or specialist nurse
- students with a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia or dyspraxia) must provide a formal diagnostic assessment report carried out by either a registered Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher with a clear diagnosis.
If you do not have evidence of your disability, we can provide advice and guidance on how to obtain it.
If you think you may have a specific learning difficulty, the team can assist you in arranging an assessment with an Educational Psychologist. We can also advise you on any additional funding which may be available to contribute towards the cost of a diagnostic assessment.
The University of West London is fully committed to upholding the principles laid out in the General Data Protection Regulations (2018), Data Protection Act 2018 and Equality Act 2010. The University’s Data Protection policy is available from the University’s website and intranet. Under the Data Protection Act (2018), physical or mental health information is treated as a special category and considered as sensitive data.
We therefore operate a confidential service within Student Services, which means that information you disclose to us is not passed on without your explicit consent.
Students who register with the Wellbeing Team will be asked to complete a registration form to confirm their level of consent to share information with other staff involved in support you.
You can choose full or restricted disclosure.
The Wellbeing Team may need to disclose and exchange information in order to implement reasonable adjustments and support for you. This information will only be shared where necessary on a ‘need to know’ basis. We define ‘need to know’ as sharing sufficient information in order for us to be able to enable support and reasonable adjustments effectively and with people who are involved in that process.
Examples of who we may share your information with may include (but is not limited to) academic staff, course leaders, examination staff, library staff, health, safety staff and professional & regulatory bodies.
We ask the people with whom we share your information to respect your confidentiality and to not pass your information on to anyone else unless they are also involved in your support.
We will never share information about you with your parent/guardian or with other students without your explicit consent.
You can choose to restrict disclosure to any party or individual outside of Student Services. If you choose to do this, please be aware this may limit the advice and support that the team and the University can provide for you.
You can discuss how restricted disclosure may affect your support with a Wellbeing Adviser. You can make changes to your disclosure arrangements at any time by contacting the Wellbeing Team.
The Wellbeing Team and Student Services may need to share information without consent in the following exceptional circumstances only:
- a student is considered to be at risk of harming themselves or others;
- if there is a legal requirement to do so;
- if there is a potential fitness to practice concern (for students on a professional course).
A decision to breach confidentiality in the circumstances set out above would be made by a designated Disability Adviser in conjunction with their line manager.
Disabled Student’s in higher education may be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). Disabled student’s allowance may be available to full-time, part-time, undergraduate and postgraduate students.
DSAs are government grants designed to contribute towards any additional costs a student may incur whilst studying due to their disability, long term medical condition, specific learning difficulty or mental health difficulty. They are not means tested, and you do not generally have to pay them back.
DSAs can help fund:
- specialist equipment and assistive technology
- non-medical helpers
- other general disability-related costs of studying
- extra travel costs because of your disability.
Once you have been assessed as ‘eligible’ to receive DSAs, you will need to arrange a Needs Assessment. This is an informal meeting between you and an assessor to decide what support you need. You will then finally receive a letter of entitlement detailing exactly what support you are entitled to and how to order your equipment.
Students should make a DSA application to the appropriate funding body. Please visit the relevant website for more information on DSA and to either complete an online application or to download an application form.
For students living in:
- England: Student Finance England
- Wales: Student Finance Wales
- Northern Ireland: Student Finance Northern Ireland
- Scotland: Student Awards Agency Scotland
- Students enrolled on a Nursing or Midwifery undergraduate course that started before 01/08/2017 should apply for DSA with NHS Bursaries through their NHS BOSS account
The whole DSA application process can take up to 14 weeks, therefore we advise you to apply as early as possible so that support is in place for the start of your course. The team can advise and guide you through any point of the DSA application process.
The Wellbeing Team are here to support students who experience mental health difficulties during their academic study. In conjunction to this, the team are committed to raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health conditions in addition to encouraging all of our students to stay well.
The team has a dedicated Mental Health Adviser who can offer a range of advice, information and support to students and staff on mental health issues and topics. In addition, a variety of literature has also been developed around specific mental health conditions for psychoeducation purposes. These can be found on the student portal under the ‘health and wellbeing’ tab or alternatively under ‘further resources’.
Students with a diagnosed mental health condition can register with the team and may receive support through reasonable adjustments and where applicable, disabled student allowances (DSA). The team are also able to advise students who may not currently have a diagnosis of a mental health condition, how to take the step toward diagnosis and how to obtain medical evidence.
Where appropriate, the team can signpost students to both internal and external support services for example the University’s counselling service, which is free and accessible to all UWL students or NHS services such as local talking therapies.
Should I disclose my disability?
Yes. If you disclose your disability to the University you will be able to access a range of support and reasonable adjustments. You have the opportunity to disclose your disability on your UCAS form, during enrolment or any time during your studies. The University encourages all students to disclose their disability as early as possible, in order for support to be set up and ensure that you reach your full potential.
Can I get adjustments during an admissions test or interview?
Yes. If you require any adjustments to a test or interview during the admissions process because of your disability, please contact the Wellbeing Team in good time beforehand to discuss your requirements. Depending on the nature of the adjustment required, you may be required to provide medical evidence.
I am the parent/guardian of a student. Can I talk to the University about the support available to them?
The University is fully committed to upholding the principles laid out in the Data Protection Act 1998. This means that we cannot share any information with a student’s parent/guardian without their consent. If your child would like to set up consent to share information with you, we will require their explicit written consent.
We are able to discuss support available to students in general terms and answer any questions you may have. However, we encourage students to contact us themselves so we can talk to students directly about their individual support requirements.
I used to get support during my exams at school, will this continue at University?
There is a range of exam adjustments and support available at the University. Students should discuss their requirements with the Wellbeing Team, who will make recommendations for exam support on the basis of individual need.
What kind of medical evidence do I need to register with the Wellbeing Team?
Students with a disability or mental health difficulty must provide a recent letter from a GP, consultant or a suitably qualified medical specialist, such as a mental health practitioner.
Students with a specific learning difficulty must provide a formal Diagnostic Assessment report carried out by either a registered Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher with a valid practicing certificate, which gives a clear diagnosis.
All evidence must be contemporary and refer directly to your disability and how it affects you. If you do not have evidence of your disability, we can provide advice and guidance on how to obtain it.
I need support applying for Disabled Student Allowances (DSA). Who can help me?
The Wellbeing Team are available to offer support and guidance through the DSA process from application to setting up your recommended support. Please contact us for any queries you may have.
What is a DSA Needs Assessment?
A DSA Needs Assessment is an independent informal meeting with a Needs Assessor to decide what support you may need due to the impacts of your disability on your ability to study. The Needs Assessment will make recommendations on support and strategies available with DSA funding to enable you in your studies. This could be specialist assistive technology, non-medical help support or other study related costs you may have because of your disability. It is not an assessment of your disability.
What other support can I access at the University?
Student Services offers a comprehensive range of support services to all our students. Please click on the links below to find out more about each service:
- Counselling Service
- Student Advice (Funding & Immigration)
- Engagement Team
- Careers Service
- Scholarships & Bursaries
How do I register with a local GP?
All students are encouraged to register with your local GP. Please follow the link here for more information on health at university
Information for DSA Needs Assessors has been collated to help you with identifying the support available at the University of West London (UWL).
The university works with non-medical helpers from many different agencies. If you are a non-medical helper then please become familiar with the university and policies and procedures relevant to your work here with students. We ask you to read through the information and to contact the Wellbeing Team if you have any specific queries.
For any further information or advice, you can contact the team in the following ways:
Telephone: 020 8231 2739
Wellbeing Team (Disability & Mental Health)
William Brake Student Services
University Of West London
St. Mary’s Road