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It is quite normal for us to occasionally experience anxiety, low-mood or feelings of not fitting in. Deadlines, worries about achieving the required standard and the pressures of workload are all expected challenges of study.  Making the transition to university and coping with difficulties can be tough, but experiencing stress and difficult emotions does not, in itself, denote the presence of a mental health condition. However, when these difficulties become overwhelming or start to have a serious and negative impact on your day-to-day living, we would encourage you to seek specialist advice and support.

Signs of mental health difficulties or emotional concerns can be very varied but the Samaritans list the following symptoms as possible signs you may be struggling to cope:

  • A persistent lack of energy or tiredness
  • A lasting feeling of restlessness and agitation
  • Regular feelings of tearfulness
  • Avoidance of / withdrawal from people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things

If you are experiencing any of these difficulties or are worried about your mental health, there is lots of support out there:

The University Counselling Service offers a range of support to all students, including face to face counselling, mental health advisors, groups and workshops, and a wide variety of self-help guides, books and websites.  They are based at 2-3 Bene’t Place, on Lensfield Road. See also - UCS

The Disability Resource Centre offers a range of support to students with mental health difficulties, including specialist 1-1 mentoring, support with funding applications, and discussions around academic-related disability support (such as adjustments to teaching and learning and exam access arrangements). If you would like to speak to a disability adviser or book an appointment email disability@admin.cam.ac.uk or call on +44 (0)1223 332301. More information can be found here.

You can speak to your College Nurse or Tutor if you are worried about your mental health. See also - College support 

Your GP can help you with any medical problem, including mental health concerns See also - GPs

The NHS have developed a range of self-help workbooks to help with mental health concerns such as depression and low mood, eating disorders, anger management, anxiety, social anxiety, panic, hearing voices and disturbing beliefs, obsessions and compulsions, PTSD, self-harm, stress and sleeping problems. 

MIND is a national organisation offering information about mental health. They have a helpful guide to seeking help for a mental health problem as well as Frequently Asked Questions section on their website and they also provide an A to Z of mental health.  You can also read their booklet about mental health and student life.

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust website has some useful information about depression and mental health support, as well as booklets, videos and guides for those experiencing mental health issues and for those supporting someone experiencing this.  

Nightline is a confidential night time listening support service run by students for students available during the night in term time. Find out more 

Samaritans offers round the clock 24/7 confidential listening support to anyone who needs it.  

The Mix offers a free helpline for under 25s between 11am and 11pm on 0808 808 4994.

For mental health support and advice out of hours, SANE offers specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers (open 4.30pm to 10.30pm every day). 

Hopeline is run by Papyrus and offers confidential support and advice to people under 35 who may have thoughts of suicide (open 10am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm weekends, and 2 to 5 on Bank holidays). 

The Students’ Unions’ Advice Service offers free, confidential and non-judgmental support to students

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity and it offers support, campaigns and research on mental health issues affecting students in the UK.  

Stress Analyst is an interactive page which can be helpful if you've just had a stressful experience.

See also - Concern for others, Mental health emergencies and Helpful contacts