Mental Health and University Students

Mental Health

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact one of the following for help:

  • A & E: 999
  • NHS Helpline: 111
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Your own GP

If you are looking for someone to talk to at your university, have a look at our mental health resource hub to find a contact.

Why is mental health important for students?

One in four people in the UK will experience mental health problems every year.

Research has found that this is true for uni students too. 27% of students responding to a recent survey have experienced issues with their mental health.

Going to university offers a unique set of challenges to young people. It’s often the first time they’ve lived out of the family home. Their friendship support network may be split over long distance. And they’ve got a heavy workload and personal finances to worry about on top of it all.

The pressure of these changes can lead to a decline in mental health.

Poor mental health can have serious knock-ons in your life. It can leave you feeling anxious, unhappy, unmotivated and depressed. If you feel any of these things persistently, try to talk to someone about it.

If left untreated, mental health issues can have physical impacts. Weight fluctuations, nausea and headaches are all common symptoms and effects of poor mental health.

Your mental health can affect just about everything, so keeping on top of it is incredibly important.

Helpfully, there’s loads of people and resources, from GPs to specialist charities, out there to set you on the right track.

What are common mental health problems for students?

Not all mental health issues are given names. If you’ve been feeling down, anxious or stressed for a while, it should help to speak to someone, even if this doesn’t lead to a diagnosis.

Common issues for students include:

  • Anxiety disorders: this encompasses a broad range of things including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder. Symptoms of anxiety disorders can include nausea, panic attacks, headaches and fatigue.
  • Depression: it’s normal for people to have a few down days every now and then. If these become more common or stretch out for longer periods, it might be worth talking about it. If you have suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. The Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline that you can ring on 116 223.

Other issues that can affect you are:

  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Personality disorders

To find out more about these issues, and how you can get help, the mental health charity Mind has a great set of resources, including this booklet explaining what mental health problems can mean.

Mental health resources for students

There are tonnes of people and resources out there to help you through your mental health problems. You’ll find loads of useful resources at the following websites:

Student Minds: The resources on this page are designed to help you through difficult times at uni. They were written with students in mind so should help answer some of your questions.

Talking Therapies: On this page, NHS Berkshire has put together a list on online self-help guides for a variety of therapies. These are great to start to exploring your mental health. It’s still a good idea to talk to someone about what’s going on, even if things do improve.

Mind: Mind has resources covering loads of aspects of mental health and their guides about helping someone else are great. If you’ve noticed a friend or flatmate that seems down or not themselves, these resources can help you to support them.

CALM: The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the team are great at offering support and pushing for changes in culture.

The Mix: Can connect you to experts and your peers who’ll give you the support and tools you need to take on any challenge you’re facing – for everything from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from break-ups to drugs.

Universities can also help you access more resources. Take a look at our mental health hub to find out who to contact at your uni for more information.