How can I access mental health support?

Billboard on the side of a building, saying how are you, really/

The article was published by the Great British Mag content team on 3 March 2021. 

As a student living away from home, it’s common to sometimes feel stressed, anxious or low. Dealing with hefty workloads and constant deadlines while being away from family and friends takes some getting used to. 

But if these feelings persist, start to worsen or begin to impact you day-to-day, it might be time to think about seeking support. 

Perhaps you’re worrying a lot more than usual, find yourself avoiding social situations or aren’t getting any enjoyment from things that you used to. Maybe you’re having problems sleeping or concentrating on your studies. These are all things that you should keep an eye out for, as they could indicate that you’d benefit from some mental wellbeing support. 

If you’re feeling unsure about whether to get help – perhaps you don’t know if your mental health issues are bad enough or don’t like the thought of having to talk about what’s going on in your head – know that this is very common and there are many ways you can get help.

Where should I seek support for my mental health?

In an emergency

If your situation is an emergency and poses a threat to your safety – or the safety of anyone else – call 999

Friends and family

Talking about your thoughts and feelings with people you feel comfortable with can be a huge help. It’s likely that they’ve been through similar situations, so may be able to offer guidance. But even if they haven’t, just telling someone what’s going on in your head can help to lessen the load you feel considerably. 

University counselling service 

Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know. If that’s the case for you, make use of your university’s in-house counselling service. It is a confidential service that you can access for free, and the people you’ll speak to are fully qualified counsellors and mental health advisors. 

Take a look at your university or college’s website to find out what services are available and how you can access them.

Student Minds

Student Minds is a charity that’s focused on offering mental wellbeing support to students. It runs online peer support groups, led by fully trained volunteer students. Although everyone is encouraged to speak and get involved in these sessions, there is no pressure, and you’re more than welcome to just listen. 

Student Minds also facilitates workshops at universities – including ones to support a friend who is struggling with their mental health – and can offer expertise on what other on-campus support you should be able to access. 

Make an appointment with your GP

You might be able to access counselling and other support or get medication through the NHS, so its worth making an appointment with the GP surgery you registered with when you arrived in the UK.


Nightline is a talking service created especially for students. The operators you’ll chat to – be it by phone, email, text or instant messages – are non-judgemental and there to listen as opposed to advise. They can support you in making decisions and will let you talk about anything that’s on your mind – you get to set the agenda. Universities each have their own Nightline service (you can find yours by using the search function on the website) and will sometimes have someone you can speak to in your mother language. Nightline runs during term time, in the evenings only. 


The Samaritans is a helpline that runs every day of the year, 24 hours a day. If you are struggling with your mental health or have thoughts about hurting yourself, trained volunteers are on the other end of the phone, ready to work through your issues with you. The number for Samaritans is 116 123 – it is free to call from any phone in the UK.


If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings – or are concerned about another young person who might be – you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, email or text 07786 209 697. Lines are open weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm. 

LGBT Foundation

LGBT+ individuals can contact the LGBT Foundation helpline at 0845 330 3030 (10am-10pm, daily) or email This charity can offer advice, information and support to those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. 

Your university 

Your university may be able to offer you some practical help when it comes to managing your studies while experiencing mental health issues, like making course adjustments to suit your needs, providing specialist equipment or assigning you a mentor. 

You may also want to read

How to access free healthcare in the UK

How to get support for learning differences at university

Former student uses her mental health challenges to help others