How to look after your mental health while at uni

Moving overseas to study is an exciting but challenging time and you might find you feel anxious and stressed from time to time.

This is normal and most people find once they get used to their new environment, their anxiety subsides. You should also remember uni life is fast-paced and busy, so it is important to remember you don’t have to go to every single social activity you’re invited to and you should make sure you take the time to eat properly, exercise and find a sleep pattern. If you're feeling homesick, have a look at our blog on ways to cope with these feelings.

However, if you are unable to cope or have an existing mental health issue that you need to manage, there is plenty of help available.

Here are some organisations that can help:

General practitioner (doctor)

If you have any concerns or you need to manage a pre-existing condition, the starting point will be to see a doctor. You will first need to register with a General Practice. You can then see a doctor who will listen to your concerns and your symptoms and determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

They may refer you to a helpline, a local group or give you a prescription for medication to help your symptoms.

University counselling service

Most universities and colleges have a free and confidential in-house counselling service you can access, with professionally qualified counsellors and psychotherapists. Many universities also have a mental health adviser who can help you access the support you need. These services will be confidential, so your family will not know you’ve visited them.

Don't forget that your personal tutor is often a good starting place if you want to discuss any issues you are having, they can point you in the direction of help. As well as counselling or therapy, you may also be entitled to “reasonable adjustments” such as extra time in exams, extensions on coursework, and specialist mental health mentor support.

Speak to friends and family

If you feel comfortable, speak to someone in your immediate network of friends. Many people feel the same way as you, and you are not as alone as you think you are. And even if your family is not local, they may be able to give you the reassurance and guidance you need.

Call a helpline

To get confidential support by phone from another student, look on Nightline’s website to see if your university offers a night-time listening service. In some cases, they will have someone you can speak to in your mother language. However, Nightline only runs during term time.

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for those struggling with their mental health or those suffering from suicidal thoughts. The number for Samaritans is 116 123 and it is a free to call from any phone in the UK. You can also send the charity an email, write a letter, or download their self-help app.

Papyrus, a suicide prevention charity, run HOPELINEUK every weekday from 9am – 10pm, and 2pm – 10pm on weekends and bank holidays. The helpline is for children and young people under 35, and you can call them on 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967, or email

Attend a Student Mind group

Student Mind runs groups, on and off campus, so that students experiencing mental health difficulties have access to a supportive environment in which they can talk about life and university. Their website also has lots of links to resources including online support and apps, phone lines and tips on how to manage your health as a student in the UK.

LGBT Foundation

LGBT+ individuals can contact the LGBT Foundation helpline at 0845 330 3030 (10am – 10pm, daily) or email:

Stonewall also offer lots of advice and support groups for LGBT+ people seeking mental health guidance.

What to do in an emergency

In case of a medical emergency, such as an overdose, call 999. ​If you need urgent medical advice, call the NHS 111 (England & Wales) or NHS 24 ​(Scotland) – T: 08454 242424.