Covid-19 Update

Due to the latest government update the College is now closed to all but essential staff. If you are a staff member and are unsure about your status, please remain at home and contact your head of department. If you need help with logging into the Staff Area with your Raven ID, please click here.

Counselling service

Counselling at Churchill

The College provides a confidential counselling service for students and staff. You can talk to the Counsellor about any issue that is troubling you.

Counselling offers a safe, non-judgemental space to talk about your problems. The Counsellor will listen carefully and help you to explore aspects of your life and feelings. This can relieve your distress, increase your personal understanding and perhaps assist you to make helpful changes in your life.

While talking to family, friends or other staff can be helpful, there may be times when you want to talk to someone outside your normal life and who is professionally trained. It can sometimes feel daunting to go and see a counsellor but these feelings usually dissipate fairly quickly and most people find it a helpful experience. 

You can use counselling to help you work through any personal issue from immediate concerns to longer-term problems. Issues people bring include, abuse, anxiety, bereavement, depression, eating disorders, family difficulties, identity, procrastination, relationships or social concerns, self-harm, settling in, sexual harassment, sexuality, stress or suicidal feelings.

The Counsellor, Tim Ellis, has a wide range of experience, especially in working with students. If the College Counsellor judges it appropriate and likely to be helpful, it may be possible to arrange to see another, female, Counsellor.

The sessions are usually 50 minutes long. Most people come for between one and ten sessions, typically once a week or once a fortnight. However, there is no fixed limit on the number of sessions and it is possible to come for a longer period.


To request an appointment, please email. The Counsellor will normally reply to your email within 24 hours. Depending upon demand and your availability, the Counsellor will try to offer you an appointment in about a week.


Counselling is available in College throughout term time and to a more limited extent in vacation periods. Appointments are on weekdays, typically Mondays and Thursdays. The Counsellor will try to offer you a convenient appointment time. 


Room 1H (at the top of staircase 1)

Taster sessions

If counselling is new to you, you’re welcome to arrange a 15 minute taster session to see what it's like and to ask any questions you may have. You can then book a longer appointment if you want. Please email if you'd like one of these sessions. 

Other counselling available

Counselling is also available to students through the University Counselling Service. They offer both one-to-one sessions  and a wide range of workshops and groups. The websites includes a large number of self-help leaflets with information about a range of common difficulties. It also provides a comprehensive list of other sources of help and advice

Staff can also access the Staff Counselling Service.

Out of hours support

The Sanctuary is an NHS service providing a safe place for people experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis. It offers practical and emotional support in a warm and welcoming environment in central Cambridge.
Open: 6pm–1am every day
Tel: 111, option 2 

Nightline offers a helpline run by students for students in Cambridge. You can phone, instant message, email or Skype.
Open: 7pm–7am in full-term only
Tel: 01223 744 444

Saneline is a national mental helpline providing specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by a mental health issue or crisis, including friends and family.
Open: 4.30–10.30pm every day
Tel: 0300 304 7000

Cambridge Samaritans local branch of national helpline providing confidential emotional support to people in distress or despair.
Open for phone and email contact: 24 hours, every day.
Open for visits: 10.30am–10pm every day
Tel: 116 123

And remember, the Porters' Lodge is open 24 hours a day.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

All personal information provided to the counselling service is confidential and private, and no information will be passed on to anyone else without your consent. The only exception to this is if you, or someone else, are at risk of significant harm; or when the College is legally obliged to do so.

Minimal confidential and anonymous case notes are kept, stored separately from a list of names and email addresses. The information is securely stored on the Churchill College IT system, or in a locked filing cabinet. This information is not shared (unless you request it to be shared) and used only to facilitate ongoing counselling work (the only exception, as stated above, if there is a serious and imminent risk to safety). This information is kept according to the Records Retention Schedule of the College for 7 years and then deleted.  The counsellor’s personal and more detailed case notes are shredded at the end of the work with you.  You can request to see or have a copy of the data that is held or withdraw your consent at any time by contacting   

You will be asked to sign a form confirming your understanding and consent to these arrangements when you first come for a counselling session.

Welfare support at Churchill