This article provides information about getting support with overcoming stress and anxiety at University.
Anxiety is a very common issue, affecting many students. It is common to try to deal with anxiety by avoiding the situations that feel like they are causing these feelings. Avoidance may feel like it gives temporary relief, but in fact it makes the problem increasingly worse.
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 worth talking to friends or other students to see if they can offer support eg. by going to classes together.
You can also learn skills to help you deal better with anxiety, 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 and anxiety.
Our popular 'From Stress to Success' course and various workshops like 'Keep calm and carry on', 'stress less, stay well' and 'mood boost' run several times a term and there are various other workshops on relevant topics like anxiety, panic, sleep, procrastination, perfectionism, sensational strategies, and being more compassionate towards yourself. You may also find it helpful to attend a course on mindfulness. Consult our events, courses and workshops programme to find out more.
All students also have free access to a set of online courses, called SilverCloud, to learn evidence-based strategies for tackling common issues. Choose from the 'Space from Stress' or the 'Space from Anxiety' courses as a starting point. These courses can be accessed confidentially and completed independently, in your own time and at your own pace. Find out more and register directly through 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.
The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, mental health advice and counselling. 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. As well as one to one support we offer a programme of events, courses and workshops, online support and resources, and a weekly Wellbeing Cafe.
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).
Student Wellbeing courses and workshops Students' Union Advice Centre
The Students' Union Advice Centre, which is a separate service to the Student Wellbeing service, can also offer confidential, impartial and non-judgmental support on a range of issues. The service is independent from the University, all enquiries are dealt with in confidence. The team work closely with the University to resolve issues and ensure students are treated fairly. The team may also direct you to other services which may be of help. For more information see their pages on the Students' Union website.
Talking Change is a free NHS service offering supported self-help and talking therapies (mainly cognitive behaviour therapy) for people registered with a Portsmouth GP and with difficulties with anxiety or depression. Self-referral is possible by completing the online referral, or your GP can refer you. You can also access Talking Change on campus, via the Student Wellbeing Service (but you will still need to be registered with a Portsmouth GP).
The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:
- Forsyth, JP & Eifert, GH - The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety - 616.8914/FOR
- Greenberger, D & Padesky, C A - Mind over Mood - 616.89142/GRE
- Harris, R - The Confidence Gap - 150.198/HAR
- Jeffers, S - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - 158.2/JEF
- Kennerley, H - Overcoming Anxiety - 616.85220651/KEN
- Meares, K - Overcoming Worry - 616.890651/MEA
- Orsillo, S M & Roemer, L - The Mindful Way through Anxiety - 616.8914/ORS
- Williams, C, Dr - Overcoming anxiety, stress, and panic: a five areas approach - 616.852206/WIL
You can search the Library Catalogue here.
If you would like to research more around the topic of anxiety, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self help resources including information on exam stress:
- CBT Self-help workbooks From a very well-regarded Australian site, these popular downloadable CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbooks provide clear, easy to read information along with short exercises and activities to learn and apply skills for tackling common issues. Many students have found these materials helpful. Choose from: What me, worry? for mastering generalised anxiety Shy no longer for coping with social anxiety Panic stations for coping with panic attacks Helping health anxiety for health-focused anxiety
- NHS Booklets on Anxiety This page links to a series of excellent booklets providing information and self-help activities to learn skills for common issues, including stress, anxiety, panic, obsessions and compulsions, sleep, anger and health anxiety.
- How to cope with exam stress This MIND leaflet outlines useful ways of preparing for exams, minimising and managing stress effectively. It explains how having a mental health problem can impact upon being a student, and suggests ways of coping and where to go for support.
Books that may be useful
Acres, D - Passing Exams Without Anxiety - Find it on Amazon
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