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Counselling Service

‘The right service delivered by the right people in the right place at the right time’

Welcome to Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing. This website provides information on what we do, how to access the service and also includes information on various issues that can affect students and the support services available in UL and Limerick.  Please feel free to browse our self-help leaflets located in the tabs on the left-hand side of the page. Information on external resources is also available here

If you have any questions about how to book an appointment, what happens in counselling etc., please refer to our FAQ guide.

Information on child safeguarding can be found in UL Éist's Child Safeguarding Statement, here. This service-specfic statement should be considered in the context of the overarching University Child Safeguarding Statement.

UL Éist - Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service is a free and confidential service which is available to all registered UL students. We run a stepped-care model of service which provides low-medium level support within a high-demand environment, tailoring support to the individual. The stepped-care model works by providing the least intensive, yet effective, intervention appropriate to the presenting needs of each individual. Students with high level, intensive needs, chronic difficulties, or entrenched problems can be referred to specialist support services, as determined by their presentation.

A student’s relationship with UL Éist begins with the drop-in service. Here they meet an Assistant Psychologist (AP) for 15-20 minutes. Drop-in runs twice daily (10am - 11am & 2pm - 3pm) and students do not need to make an appointment prior to attending. Please note, intake forms must be filled out no later than 10 minutes prior to the end of drop-in. Drop-in permits students the space to express their concerns and emotions. The APs and Clinical Psychologists then work to formulate a support plan, placing the student at the appropriate ‘step’ for their presenting issues and needs within the stepped-care model.

Step 1

Students may be offered up to four one-to-one cognitive-behavioural support sessions with an AP, giving them a space to work on coping skills and changing of thought processes related to their presentation/concerns. The one-to-one nature of the sessions allows for tailoring of support to the student’s individual needs. The service also provides on-line wellbeing and mental health advice and information. 

Step 2

Students who may not be suitable for cognitive-behavioural support or who prefer to explore their difficulties are placed at step 2 of the model. Here students are offered up to six sessions of talk therapy with one of the counsellors.

Step 3

In some circumstances, following review and discussion with the Head of Counselling, the student may be offered further sessions. Step 3 comprises of 1-6 additional sessions and a subsequent review. 

Step 4

Should the student require further support they may be directed to a specialist service (e.g. community mental health, rape crisis, drug and alcohol services). In some cases referral to specialist services may be decided at drop-in and in consultation with the Head of Service.

The service is staffed by qualified and experienced Clinical Psychologists, Student Counsellors, Intern/Trainee Psychotherapists, and Assistant Psychologists. Together they provided an extensive array of skill, expertise, and knowledge, equipping them to work with a wide range of personal issues.

Stepped Care Model

UL Éist hosts:

“What Next?” The Support Group for Postgraduate, Final year and Mature students

*Are you feeling confused or overwhelmed over your academic workload?*
*Would you like to connect more with your peers?*

‘What Next’ sessions offer drop-in support specifically for postgraduate (PHDs, Professional Doctorates, Masters, H.Dips), final years undergraduate and mature students. These sessions are aimed at supporting students around their experiences, depending on the issues brought by and decided upon by you. These might include supervisor relationships, managing work-life balance, coping with stress, managing deadlines, etc. It is also an opportunity to meet other students with similar issues.

Group format: Open, semi-structured and participatory.

Facilitated by: Carmel McMahon, Psychotherapist, UL Éist Student Counselling Service

Referral pathway: Self-referral and signposted. Please email Carmel.McMahon@ul.ie to book a place.

Time: Wednesdays at 5pm-6pm.

Dates: Commencing week 9, Semester 1. Weekly sessions (depending upon demand).

Venue: Room CM 074 (UL Counselling Waiting Room). This venue may change, depending upon numbers.

Wheelchair access: Yes. Lift is just down the hall.

Intended outcomes:
• To have opportunity to share academic experiences with others
• To explore supervisor relationships and how best to manage these
• To learn the importance of self-care as a student
• To learn relaxation and anxiety management techniques to improve coping skills

First Seven Weeks of UL have made a short video on how to find the counselling service, which can be found here

Contact Number: 061-202327

Email: marion.kinsella@ul.ie for queries/information related to appointments or I-Grades

Email: counselling@ul.ie for specific queries not related to appointments or I-Grades

Location: CM-073 (Opposite the Student Health Centre)

Follow our Facebook page , Instagram and Twitter for regular updates!


Below is an outline of how the I grade application process works in relation to students presenting with mental health concerns only.

For applications in relation to medical issues please contact Ria Toland at Ria.Toland@ul.ie , Tel 061 202534.  For applications in relation to immediate family bereavement please contact Fr John Campion, John.Campion@ul.ie  , Tel 061 202 180.

Please note that the deadline for completion of an I grade application for this semester is 5pm on 03rd January 2020. The online system closes on the 03rd January 2020. You must have completed steps 1 and 2 below before this time.

You must read the University’s Handbook of Academic Regulations and Procedures.  Section 4.2.3 relating to I grades, prior to making an application.


UL ÉIST Counselling Service I Grade Application Process and Information

There are 2 main steps involved in completing an I grade application on mental health grounds. These must both be completed to process any IGrade:

1.            If you are already engaged with a counsellor from UL ÉIST, please talk with them directly about an IGrade. The counsellor can then discuss with the Head/Deputy Head of Counselling. Please note, the counsellor must agree that your mental state is affected sufficiently to affect the sitting of your exam/s. General exam stress or maintaining a high grade is not a reason to grant IGrades.


Completion of an External Medical Certification Form which must indicate a mental health concern that is ongoing and not simply due to exam stress/panic related to exams (copy attached). You must attend UL ÉIST at drop-in with a completed cert to discuss an IGrade.


You have a letter of support from a Psychotherapist or Clinical / Counselling Psychologist or Psychiatrist confirming that they consider you unfit for sitting exams. This letter must be dated and the dates of the exams stated.


2.            Completion of an online application (medical students complete a hard copy form when they attend for their appointment). This is online from the 25th November and is removed from the online system at the close of business (5pm) on the 03rd January 2020.

NB! The online application should only be completed after it has been confirmed that UL ÉIST is supporting your application.

External Medical Certification Form

The External Medical Certification Form must be completed by your GP or consultant and presented to a member of the UL ÉIST team in person unless the certification clearly states that you are incapacitated. If you are incapacitated, it is possible to process an application via email. An example of incapacitation is being admitted to an in-patient unit and not having access to email/phones. Not wanting to travel to the service to submit the form is not an example of incapacitation.


Drop in at UL ÉIST

You will meet an Assistant Psychologist at Drop-In and discuss the reasons you have for not sitting an exam. The Head/Deputy Head of Counselling will consider if your situation merits an IGrade as per the Rules and Regulations of UL. If you have not previously engaged with UL ÉIST, you must have the External Cert with you at Drop In, signed and dated by your GP. Alternatively, you must have a letter with you from your mental health practitioner (Psychotherapist or Clinical /Counselling Psychologist or Psychiatrist) which is signed and dated, with the dates of the exams included on the letter.

Drop-In is any work day within the semester at 10am or 2pm in room CM 074.  Please check our Facebook for Drop-In times outside of semester.


Online Applications

The I grade application process is not complete until you have submitted an online application form. This form will be located on the UL ÉIST website at https://ulsites.ul.ie/studentaffairs/counselling-service  . NB! You must have been approved for an IGrade by one of the UL ÉIST team before completing the online application form.  Applications submitted without the support of the UL ÉIST team will be rejected.

The name of the two UL ÉIST professionals processing online applications are Dr. Lucy Smith (Head of Counselling) and Ilona Haberska (Deputy Head of Counselling).  This name will appear in the drop down list on the application form.

When you submit the online I grade application, an automated email will be sent to your UL email account acknowledging receipt of your application. Please note, if you do not receive an automated email then your application has not been correctly submitted.

Access to the online application form is only available using your UL computer account username and password.  Students must check well in advance that they are able to login to their UL account.  Students who experience difficulties logging in should send an email to Information Technology Student Support at ITSS@ul.ie.

Additional points

  • Students should not attempt to sit examinations if unfit to do so.  If students knowingly decide to undertake part or all of an examination while unwell, their chances of subsequently obtaining an IGrade may be jeopardised.
  • Students who are awarded an IGrade should contact the academic responsible for the module to determine how the outstanding requirements are to be completed and the deadline for completion of the requirements.
  • It is possible to apply for more than one IGrade and I Grades can only be awarded for full modules, not component parts of modules. You will need to check with your lecturer for confirmation as to whether or not any assignment/mid-term grades will stand or if the module(s) will revert to 100%.
  • Students applying for an IGade in the spring semester for an ‘M’ graded module such as a Final Year Project need to submit an application for the associated autumn semester  module as well (please request further information on this if required).
  • Students awarded IGrades in the autumn or spring semester who are unable to complete the module requirements by the summer deadline on medical grounds should apply for ‘double I grades’ (please request further information on this if required).
  • Students with IGrades are not required to pay an additional registration fee for completion of the module and the grade is not capped.
  • It is important that you frequently check your UL email account as we may need to contact you regarding a query with your application.
  • The University I Grade Committee will meet to review all I grade applications after the end of semester examinations have taken place.
  • Results will be available from the 24th January.

UL Student Privacy Notice

UL ÉIST processes all applications in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) / Data Protection Acts 1988-2018 and in accordance with the University's Data Protection Policy. You may view the University’s Student Privacy Notice at https://ulsites.ul.ie/corporatesecretary/student-privacy-notice.


Download Copy of Crisis and Helpline Numbers

Emergency services (Gardaí, Ambulance, Fire Service): 999 or 112

Shannon Doc: 1850 212 999 

Mental Health Crisis Intervention Service Limerick: 061-301111/ Clare: 065-6863208/ North Tipperary: 086-8306663

ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services: 1800 200 504 (24/7)/ Email: info@adaptservices.ie/ Website: www.adaptservices.ie/ 

Al-Anon, strength and hope for families and friends of problem drinkers: 01-8732699 (10am to 10pm daily)/ Email: info@alanon.ie/ Website: www.alanon.ie 

Alcoholics Anonymous Ireland: 01-8420700/ Email: gso@alcoholicsanonymous.ie/ Website: www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie/ 

AMEN, support and practical assistance to male victims of domestic abuse: 046-9023718 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)/ Email: crisissupport@amen.ie/ Website: www.amen.ie 

AWARE, a national support helpline for issues relating to mood disorders: 1800 80 48 48 (10am to 10pm daily)/ Website: www.aware.ie

Bodywhys, The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland: 1890 20 04 44 (2hrs daily) Email: alex@bodywhys.ie/ Website: www.bodywhys.ie/ 

Jigsaw Limerick, free support for young people age 12-25. (061) 974 510, https://www.jigsaw.ie/jigsaw_limerick/

GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV): 061-316661 (Mon 2.15pm–5pm, Tues-Fri 9.30am– 5pm)/ Email: info@goshh.ie Website: goshh.ie/ 

GROW, Community Mental Health: 1890 474 474 Email: midwesternregion@grow.ie Website: www.grow.ie/ 

HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline: 1800 459 459  (9:30am – 5:30pm Mon-Fri)/ Email: helpline@hse.ie

Limerick Social Services Counselling Service (Low cost counselling). 061 314111, http://www.lssc.ie/

Pieta House, for suicidality and self-harm: 1800 247 247 (24/7)/ Email: mary@pieta.ie  Website:  www.pieta.ie

Rape Crisis Midwest: 1800 311 511/ Email: info@rapecrisis.ie/ Website:  www.rapecrisis.ie/home.html

Samaritans, confidential listening service: 116 123 (24/7)/ E-mail: jo@samaritans.org/ Website: www.samaritans.org/ For 24 hour confidential text support text to 087-2609090

Important Information

Please note, UL Éist do not:

- Provide certificates for attendance

- Extend assignment deadlines

- Give interviews for coursework


To access the counselling service, you need to come to drop-in first. There is no need to make an appointment for drop-in, simply call in during our drop-in hours.

During term-time

Drop In: 10-11a.m. & 2-3p.m. daily 

Please note, intake forms must be filled out no later than 10 minutes prior to the end of drop-in.  You will be asked to fill in some demographic details and a baseline screening questionnaire on an Ipad. You will then meet with an Assistant Psychologist for 10-15mins. Occasionally, drop-in gets very busy. It is possible that not everyone will be seen within the drop-in hour. Should this happen, you are welcome to return at the next drop-in time.

Find Us: CM073, Main Building

Contact No: 061-202327

Ger Hanley - Monday 5-7pm Email: gerard.hanley@ul.ie 

IGrade Applications