Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What are your online support services?

Off the Record provides online support services, including free online counselling, giving you one-to-one support to help you through tough times. We also run online workshops at key points during the year (for example during the exam period). We'd love to hear your ideas on what workshops we should run and when. Please email us with your thoughts on onlineworkshops@talkofftherecord.org

Are your services free?

Like all of Off the Record’s services, our online support is free and available to all young people aged 14-25 in Croydon, Sutton and Merton.

I'm not from Croydon, Sutton or Merton. Can I use your services?

Our Online Services are only available to young people aged 14-25 in Croydon, Sutton and Merton. There are other online counselling services available in the country, such as Childline. Click here to see more national services for young people in England.

I want to give you feedback, how do I do this?

There are lots of ways that you can give us your feedback. This is a new website, so we'd love to hear how you are finding everything. The quickest and easiest way to give us your feedback is to use the feedback form.

I’m having technical issues with the site… Help!?

You can use our online services with a mobile phone or tablet, but you'll get the best experience using a laptop or computer. This is particularly true if you are planning to attend an online workshop, as you will need to download an app if you come to the session using a phone/tablet. 

If you need any further help with using the site, you’ll find a button on the homepage saying ‘I need help on the site’. Write us a message telling us what sort of help you need and which service (online counsellng or online workshops) you need help with, and we will get back to you as soon as possible to point you in the right direction.

Please note that our online services are not staffed 24/7 but we will aim to respond to your query within 48 hours. If you haven’t heard back after this time, please contact Off the Record by phone or email and we will get back to.

I need help now, what should I do?

You might be looking at this site and be feeling desperate for help. Even if it is in the middle of the night, you might feel you need help right now. If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal or having thoughts of self harm there is information about what to do next here.

(Please note that if we have concerns for you or feel that you or someone else may be in danger, we may also try to contact you and possibly suggest that you talk to someone in one of our face to face services, in line with our confidentiality policy.)

Online Counselling FAQs

How does online counselling work?

Online counselling is slightly different to face to face counselling because rather than talking about your problems, you write about them. All of our counselling happens through this website, so instead of using video or skype-based counselling, we offer online counselling via private, confidential messages which are sent between you and your counsellor. To find out more about how it works click here.

I want an online counsellor, what do I do?

There are two ways to request an online counsellor.

If you are not already registered for our online support services, you will need to complete our online registration form. This form will ask you a few questions about yourself as well as ask you to tell us a little bit about why you want to talk to an online counsellor. (All of this information is subject to our data policy and will be kept private and confidential).

If you are already a registered user who has been attending our online workshops, or have already completed some online counselling, you will be able to request a counsellor using your existing account. Simply go to the homepage and select ‘I want to talk to a counsellor’.

Is the information I share with my counsellor private and confidential?

Everything you share with our online support services is strictly confidential and will only ever be shared with a third party if we believe you may be at risk of harm to yourself or to others. You can find out more about how we keep things private and confidential by clicking here.

Follow these top tips to further protect your confidentiality:

  • Make sure you are in a private and safe place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Avoid using shared computers at school, college or uni as these devices may monitor your activity. This also applies to devices issued by your place of study such as laptops. Schools often have extra safety in place and your activity on the site may not be confidential.
  • If needed, use the Exit button on the right hand side for a speedy exit from the site.
  • Make sure that your laptop, mobile or tablet is password protected so that only you can access it. Update your password regularly. Make sure you always log out when you’re finished on the site.
  • The site will send you auto-mated email reminders about your sessions and/or new messages from your counsellor. Consider who might have access to your email account and be sure to update your email password too. You may even want to set up a separate email account to use with this service, for an extra layer of security.
  • Most web browsers have a ‘private browsing’ mode that means your internet history isn’t stored on your device. You can also delete your browsing history if you need to. Women’s Aid provide detailed advice on how to do this if you feel concerned about your safety.

Can I meet my counsellor face to face?

If you have been talking to a counsellor on online and decide that you would prefer face to face counselling, you can contact Off the Record and we will talk to you and explain how our face to face counselling service works. However, it unlikely we will be able to offer you face to face counselling with your online counsellor and you may be offered sessions with a different counsellor.

I’ve registered for online counselling but haven’t heard anything. How long will I have to wait for a response?

Within 48 hours of you requesting a counsellor, a member of the team will respond with an introductory welcome message. This will include some information about who your counsellor is going to be and when you can expect to hear from them. Our waiting times will vary, depending on the level of demand for the service. If you haven’t received a message 48 hours after registering, please email onlinecounselling@talkofftherecord.org and we will get back to you.

I haven’t heard anything back from my counsellor, what should I do?

Your counsellor will normally respond to your messages on a weekly basis, as outlined in Our Counselling Agreement. Usually at the start of your counselling, your counsellor will have gone through this with you, so if you are unsure, track back through your chat and you should be able to find some information about when you counsellor will normally respond to your messages.

If your counsellor has not responded and it is still within this agreed time, then it is likely they will get back within this agreed timeframe. However, if it is after this agreed time, it may be that there is a technical issue that we are unaware of. The best thing to do is to use the ‘I need help on the site’ button on our homepage and send us a message explaining that you haven’t heard back from your counsellor.

If you haven’t logged into the site for a while or went away for a while but want to come back to counselling, it might be that your counsellor hasn’t responded because your counselling contract has been deactivated. In order to start counselling again, you will need to click on the ‘I want to talk to a counsellor’ button on the homepage and a member of the counselling team will get back to you.

My counsellor is online, but isn't answering me!

Your counsellor is online but will only contact you during your agreed times (if you having live chat session). If you are unsure, have a look at our counselling agreement for more information.