UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Supporting Students at Risk (SStaR)

SStaR is a research project funded by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology, aiming to understand the needs of students who self-harm or may be at risk of suicide.

Over the last decade the number of students declaring a mental health problem to their university has risen fivefold. Self-harm in young adults has dramatically increased, doubling and trebling in young men and young women, respectively, since 2000. Lifetime suicide attempts have risen sevenfold in young women in this time. 

Self-harm and substance misuse are risk factors for suicide, making support for this group of high risk young people an important priority. However, a serious challenge for mental health and support services is that more than half of young adults who attempt suicide do not seek help.  SStaR focusses on understanding the needs of this group, including barriers to high risk students accessing support. 

Projects which are part of SStaR


SENSE is a collaboration between the PsychUP for Wellbeing team and colleagues from the UCL Division of Psychiatry, IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Birkbeck. SENSE is a longitudinal study: the survey went out to all students at UCL at the start of the 2019/20 academic year, and respondents were then followed up.  

The data we collected will help us understand more about what university life is like for students who self-harm, and whether they seek help from family, friends, mental health services or other sources. We are starting to analyse the data now, and will be making the findings available on our website in future.  

Find out more about SENSE here.


Journeys is a longitudinal interview project, focussed on understanding the experiences of high risk students. We will be making information about the project available on the website as it progresses.