Q&A with Elaine Smith-Freeman from our student counselling service


Elaine Smith-Freeman is the Manager of Counselling and Mental Wellbeing at LJMU. We spoke to Elaine to learn about the university’s counselling service and find out how self-care can make a big difference to our mental health. 

Can you tell us about the LJMU Counselling Service?

The Counselling Service provides free counselling for Liverpool John Moores University students. Counselling offers an opportunity to talk about your concerns or share your problems with a trained counsellor in weekly one-to-one sessions.  

The counsellors are here to help students look at problems of a personal and emotional nature that may be interfering with their ability to study.

How can students access the LJMU Counselling Service?

Students can access the service by a referral from a Student Engagement Officer, by booking an initial appointment directly with a counsellor, or attending a drop-in. 

The counselling service offers a drop-in service Monday – Thursday, 10.00am-4.00pm. No appointment is needed for this and students can just turn up on the day. Sessions normally last around 30 minutes and can also be used as a gateway to access to regular counselling.

How long is the waiting list for regular appointments?

The waiting list for a regular appointment can vary depending on the time of year.  However, you will be told the current waiting time at your initial appointment or by your Student Engagement Officer. 

At present, we generally offer students around four sessions.  Students on the waiting list are also able to access the drop-in service. 

Why is self-care important and how can we practise it in our daily lives?

Self-care is a broad term that covers a range of activities that promote our physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s all about taking care of ourselves! There are many benefits of self-care such as better productivity, better physical, mental and emotional health, improved resistance to illness, enhanced self-esteem and increased self-knowledge.  

Self-care isn’t a one-time activity but more an accumulation of small habits that build up over time to create a healthy and self-compassionate lifestyle. Ideas for a self-care plan may include mindfulness, drawing, being in nature, joining a yoga class, gym, reading a book.

Are there any resources our students can access to help with wellbeing?

LJMU has partnered with SilverCloud which is a self-help cognitive behaviour programme. This online resource has modules focusing on anxiety, depression, stress and body image issues. 

The Counselling Service also offers a number of workshops to improve wellbeing and self-care.

  • PhD Group
  • Mindfulness (to book visit saw.ljmu.ac.uk)
  • Draw, Create, Make – this is a new project offering students the opportunity to express themselves though art for good mental health. You don’t have to be an artist or have specialist skills; it’s an opportunity to relax and be yourself. The sessions will take place on the third Wednesday of each month at the Aquinas Building. 

For more information about any of these workshops email counselling@ljmu.ac.uk

Or attend a drop-in session: 
Aquinas Building: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10.00am – 4.00pm and Thursday 1.00 – 4.00pm
IM Marsh Campus (Room M111, Mossley Building): Thursday 10.00am – 4.00pm

World Mental Health Day is on Thursday 10th October 2019 and the university is recognising it with a range of activities throughout the week. Student Advice and Wellbeing also deliver workshops throughout the year designed to support your wellbeing. Visit the SAW events page to find out more. 



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