This article provides information about improving confidence and self-esteem, and how to get support where relevant.

Problems with confidence and self esteem affect most people at one time or another, and are certainly very common amongst students. However, if you have persistently low self-esteem or problems with confidence then it is a good idea to try to do something about it - and there is a lot that can be done to address low self-esteem and build confidence.

It is always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies - they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support. It is also advisable to consult your GP if you are feeling persistently low, or if your difficulties are significantly affecting your daily functioning.

You can learn skills to help you tackle low self-esteem, and there is a lot of other support available:


Courses and workshops

The Student Wellbeing Service hosts a range of workshops and courses for learning skills to tackle common issues like stress, anxiety and low mood.

Our popular From Stress to Success course runs several times a term and includes relevant topics such as assertiveness. There are also several workshops on topics such as being kinder more compassionate towards yourself, perfectionism and ‘Mood Boost’. You may also find it helpful to attend a course on mindfulness. Consult our course and workshop programme to find out more.

All students also have free access to a set of short online courses, called SilverCloud, to learn evidence-based strategies for tackling common issues. The Space from Stress course would be a good place to start, with sections on tackling the negative thinking which contributes to low self esteem. These courses can be accessed confidentially and completed independently, in your own time and at your own pace. Find out more and register directly from the Online Resources article.


Student Wellbeing Service

The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns and is available to every student at the University, free of charge. All kinds of students find their way to us from all over the University and for all sorts of reasons. We are experienced in offering support to students for issues relating to self esteem and confidence.

The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, counselling, and mental health advice. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once – we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs. In addition to the individual support we offer, we also liaise closely with local NHS services and can arrange for you to access the NHS Talking Change talking treatment service via initial sessions on campus.

To contact us or register for support see our article on accessing support from the Student Wellbeing Service. You can also use this registration process to request a place on most of our courses and workshops (subject to availability).


Library books

The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:

  • Fennell, M - Overcoming Low Self-Esteem - 155.232/FEN
  • Harris, R - The Confidence Gap - 150.198/HAR
  • Lindenfield, G - Self-Esteem - 158.1/LIN

You can search the Library Catalogue here.


Other resources

If you would like to research more around the topic of self-esteem and confidence, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self help resources:

  • Overcoming Low Self-Esteem - Comprehensive set of workbooks from the Centre for Clinical Interventions, an Australian specialist public mental health service, aimed at understanding and improving low self-esteem.


University of Portsmouth Student Wellbeing Service Contact Details:

Phone: +44 (0)23 9284 3466


Location: The Bateson Centre, The Mary Rose St, Portsmouth, PO1 2BL

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