Developing a national database for higher education student counselling services: The importance of collaborations.
Howard, E., Tayer Farahani, Z., Rashleigh, C., & Dooley, B. (2021). Developing a national database for higher education student counselling services: The importance of collaborations. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 1-7. doi:10.1017/ipm.2021.78
Student counselling services are at the forefront of providing mental health support to Irish Higher Education students. Since 1996, the Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education in Ireland (PCHEI) association, through their annual survey collection, has collected aggregate data for the sector. However, to identify national trends and effective interventions, a standardised non-aggregate sectoral approach to data collection is required. The Higher Education Authority funded project, 3SET, builds on the PCHEI survey through the development of a national database. In this paper, we outline the steps followed in developing the database, identify the parties involved at each stage and contrast the approach taken to the development of similar databases. Important factors shaping the development have been the autonomy of counselling services, compliance with General Data Protection Regulation, and the involvement of practitioners. This is an ongoing project with the long-term sustainability of the database being a primary objective.