Information for parents and guardians of UCL students


Health and wellbeing

Information about parents can help with the health and wellbeing of their child while they are studying at university.

On this page you will find information about:

How students can look after their health at university

UCL recommends very strongly that all students have easy access to GP services during their time at university. We advise students who come from outside London to register with a local service. GPs are the first point of contact for any concerns regarding both physical and mental health.

Ridgmount Practice is UCL's partner GP surgery, located a short walk from campus. Most UCL students will live within their catchment area and will be able to register, and we strongly recommend that they do so.

Students who are disabled or have pre-existing (physical or mental) health conditions are advised to register with our Student Support and Wellbeing services. We recommend that students register as soon as possible after they have decided to study at UCL and accepted an unconditional offer. Declaring a disability or pre-existing health condition has no impact on a student's application to study at UCL.

Students who develop a medical condition and/or are experiencing difficulties during their studies can seek support from their GP and UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing services.

We urge all new students to get the meningitis vaccine (ACWY) and the MMR vaccine several weeks before arriving at university to begin their studies.

Self-care tips for students

Simple things like getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, meditation and exercise can help students feel better both emotionally and physically.

Student Support and Wellbeing asked students how they look after themselves and keep well at university. We received lots of responses, which include: give yourself permission to slow down, take studies one step at a time, have a coffee with friends etc. The full article is available on the Student Support and Wellbeing Blog.

It is a good idea to discuss with your child some of the challenges associated with being at university. For instance, two to three months after coming to university, some students may start to feel homesick. 

Students meet many peers at university but finding the right group of friends and developing meaningful relationships can take time. So, although students are hardly ever alone at university, relationships can sometimes feel superficial and not entirely satisfying in the beginning. This is normal. Keeping in touch with loved ones back home can help students feel connected and cared for.

Getting used to the university style of learning also takes time and can be challenging in the beginning for most students. This can lead to some students initially starting to doubt their skills and knowledge and losing confidence. Staying patient with themselves and speaking with loved ones who can help them gain perspective on the experience can be very helpful to students.

The Student Support and Wellbeing team provides guidance to students on settling in at UCL, which parents may also find useful.

Pastoral and wellbeing support available to students at UCL

All taught students have Personal Tutors who can help with settling in to life at UCL, discussing academic progress, providing guidance to students around enriching their studies and directing students to specialist help if needed.

More information can be found in the 'What do you need to succeed? Personal tutoring at UCL' article for new students.

Student Support and Wellbeing provide dedicated support to all students at UCL. The team of Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers and accredited psychological therapists and psychiatrists have expertise in supporting students throughout their time at UCL.

Student Support and Wellbeing operate a drop-in service, which means that support can be accessed daily and with no need to register in advance or wait to be seen.

Online and telephone support services are also available to students in the evenings and at weekends to ensure students always have someone to talk to when this is needed.

The UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser can support students with any issues concerning religion or faith. This service is available to all students, no matter what faith group they're from, or even if they don't identify with a faith group at all.

Full information about the Student Support and Wellbeing services is available on the UCL website


Students who live in UCL-managed accommodation have access to support in their living environment. This also includes a developed network of Student Residence Advisers (SRAs) who provide peer support and organise community-building activities.

Dedicated information is available to new students on moving to and settling in to their new living environment, which parents may also find useful.

How the UK healthcare system works

The National Health Service (NHS) is the healthcare system in the UK and is primarily funded through general taxation rather than requiring insurance payments.

NHS services are free for UK residents. The eligibility criteria for NHS services for non-UK students vary. They are clearly outlined on the information pages for non-UK students

The following treatments provided by the NHS are free for everyone:

  • accident and emergency services (but not follow-up treatment, or admission as an in-patient to hospital)
  • family planning services
  • diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections

More information on the National Health Service can be found on the NHS website

Recommended vaccinations for students coming to UCL

All students should be immunised against meningitis (ACWY) as well as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). 

For more information, please see our health advice to students

How and when to contact UK emergency services

999 is the official emergency number for the UK. Calls are always free and the line is monitored at all times. The 999 number gives access to the following services:

  • police service
  • ambulance service
  • fire services

Examples of emergencies may include: 

  • a person in immediate danger of injury or their life is at risk
  • a person is missing and you suspect that their life or wellbeing might be at risk
  • suspicion that a crime is in progress, or that an offender is in the area 
  • structure on fire
  • another serious incident which needs immediate emergency service attendance

101 is the number for the local police in the UK. This number is for incidents which don’t require an emergency response as a crime is not currently in progress. 

Examples of 101 incidents include:

  • a car has been stolen
  • a property has been damaged
  • there is suspected drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood

How to alert UCL if  you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a UCL student

Emergency situations at UCL should be reported on +44 (0)20 7679 2222. This number is monitored at all times.

More information about safety at UCL

Welfare support during weekends and UCL closure periods

UCL 24/7 Student Support Line is a free, confidential wellbeing support service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Find out more on the Student Support and Wellbeing website

Private medical insurance for non-UK students

Private medical insurance is not necessary for most non-UK students coming to UCL. 

However, some students who require a visa to study in the UK and are only here for a short period of time may need to obtain private medical insurance. Additionally, there can be waiting lists for some NHS services, so students may choose to take private medical insurance.  

More information about private medical insurance