The Student Wellbeing Service offers a wide range of advice and support to help you feel better. Find out how here what they can offer.

Background

University life can be enjoyable and interesting, but it can also be challenging to adapt to a different environment and lifestyle. It’s really important to keep well and maintain your mental wellbeing in order to manage these challenges, achieve your goals and get the most out of university life.

It is normal to experience some difficulties in response to new experiences such as starting at university, managing exams and assessments or feeling lonely. Most of us feel stressed at times and will often be able to manage this by talking to friends or family or using coping strategies that have worked in the past.

If your usual ways of coping have not helped and you start to feel that you are unable to manage your usual day to day activities, including attending lectures and studying, then you may need to ask for additional support. For academic issues please contact the Disability Service (ASDAC).

If you have personal or emotional difficulties, or mental health symptoms, that are affecting your ability to cope, or if existing mental health problems are getting worse, then you can register with the Student Wellbeing Service (SWS) for confidential advice and support.

The SWS provides wellbeing advice, mental health advice and counselling in the following ways:

  • Individual face-to-face consultations
  • Daily short advice sessions
  • Online counselling
  • Wellbeing courses and workshops
  • Online self-help and resources
  • Wellbeing Café
  • What’s Up app
  • Living Weel with Autism group
  • Help to access appropriate NHS services.

The following quotes from former and current students explain how the Student Wellbeing services helped them.

I have found the Living Well group to be incredibly helpful for my personal development throughout my first year of university. Its early focus on anxiety management and mindfulness taught me very useful skills during the most stressful time for me at university, which was adjusting to it. As the year went on we started a helpful few weeks on building relationships. This covered friends, to classmates, romantic, and group work. What I liked most about the group was that these were all topics we suggested and voted on doing, and were tackled in the order the group wanted. The group was very friendly and inclusive, with boundaries and expectations established so that everyone was comfortable.

The SWS has helped me to think about things in clearer, more logical way and made me feel like I am not the only one who experiences these things.

I have found the Living Well group to be incredibly helpful for my personal development throughout my first year of university. Its early focus on anxiety management and mindfulness taught me very useful skills during the most stressful time for me at university, which was adjusting to it. As the year went on we started a helpful few weeks on building relationships. This covered friends, to classmates, romantic, and group work. What I liked most about the group was that these were all topics we suggested and voted on doing, and were tackled in the order the group wanted. The group was very friendly and inclusive, with boundaries and expectations established so that everyone was comfortable.

The SWS gave me new and healthier ways of dealing with worry and stress and helped me cope better with my anxiety.

How can this affect me?

Mental health problems can prevent you from making the most of university, so it is important to know how to recognise the warning signs that mental health problems may be developing; they can be managed more easily at an early stage. Ask for help if you notice changes in your experiences that affect your ability to cope with daily life, for example:

Physical changes such as:

  • Racing heart and/or breathlessness
  • Sweating/shaking
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep changes – sleeping too little or too much
  • Appetite changes – eating too little or too much

Behaviour changes such as:

  • Lacking motivation to carry out usual daily activities, including studying
  • Stopping activities that you used to enjoy/avoiding social situations
  • Not looking after yourself as well as usual e.g. not showering/changing clothes, not eating/drinking enough
  • Doing things to distract you from what you need to do e.g. playing computer games instead of working on assignment

Unwelcome emotions such as feeling:

  • Very anxious
  • Very low in mood, feeling hopeless
  • Angry, irritable
  • Sad, lonely, isolated
  • Embarrassed or ashamed

Unwelcome thoughts such as:

  • Negative predictions about the future
  • Self-critical or self-blaming thoughts
  • Thoughts about harming yourself or others

What to do next?

Contact the Student Wellbeing Service as soon as you think you may be experiencing mental health difficulties.

Practical tips

  • Learn to recognise warning signs (see list above).
  • Speak to your academic tutor if you think your mental health may be impacting on your academic performance. You do not need to go into specifics, just explain that you are experiencing some difficulties and ask for advice on how to minimise the impact on your academic performance.
  • Register for the Student Wellbeing Service as soon as you experience difficulties as there may be a wait.
  • Try the SilverCloud online CBT courses for stress, anxiety, depression, and body image.

Questions to think about

It might be helpful to consider the following questions:

  • What can I do to help stay well at University?
  • What has helped me to manage stress and stay well in the past?
  • What type of support works best for me e.g. face to face individual meetings, online support, connecting with other students who have had similar experiences?
  • What are the early warning signs that I may notice that will let me know that I am feeling stressed and may need help?
  • What are the signs that others may notice if I need help?
  • Where can I go for help or who can I talk to if I need support?

Additional information and links

For more information, please visit the Student Wellbeing Service at the Nuffield Centre or contact them by email or by phone and they will be happy to help.

You can also contact the following services for additional support:

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This toolkit is an adaptation of the Autism&Uni project led by Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University, under license CC BY 4.0. The original Autism&Uni project was funded with support from the European Commission with partners in the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. For more information about this project please visit the Autism&Uni website.