Support for students over Reading Week November 2020

29 October 2020

Reading Week can be a challenging time for some students, but remember there is lots of help and support readily available should you need it. This handy article summarises what's on offer.

A student reading a book

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing provides a wide range of information, advice and services to help you get the most out of your studies and look after yourself while at UCL.

We have a range of easily accessible support that remains available over Reading Week for all our students, no matter your level of study or where you are in the world. All of this support will continue to be fully accessible to students once London and the rest of England enters national lockdown on Thursday 5 November 2020.

Contact us

  • Get in touch through askUCL
  • Give us a call on +44 (0)20 7679 0100 - phone operating hours are 9am-5pm UK time, Monday to Friday

Same-day appointments

It couldn't be easier to speak to one of our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers, simply submit an enquiry through askUCL to make an appointment. Same-day appointments are available throughout Reading Week just as they usually are, so you can have a supportive conversation with an Adviser very quickly.

If you're experiencing difficulties related to a disability, your mental health or wellbeing in general, the Advisers should be your first port of call. They'll have a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental conversation with you to explore the issues you're facing and they'll work with you to find practical solutions.

Even if you think you might want to talk to someone but aren't sure, make an appointment - the Advisers are great listeners and will always do their best to help!

If you'd like more time with an adviser, you can book a longer appointment of up to an hour in advance, also through askUCL.

Submit an enquiry on askUCL to speak to an adviser


Some students might benefit from counselling, which can be an incredibly helpful means of exploring your mental health and emotional wellbeing. It's readily available at UCL from our expert Student Psychological and Counselling Services team.

We offer counselling to suit your needs, typically cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic counselling, and if your needs are outside of our area of expertise then we'll support you in accessing the right support for you externally.

To access counselling, you simply need to complete a quick registration form. It'll then be just a short wait before your initial consultation with a counsellor, and you should start a counselling programme not long after.

Register for counselling

Phone and online support

On top of counselling from SPCS, we offer additional phone and online support through Care First, our partner provider. You can speak to a qualified adviser over the phone or through online chat at any time, about any issue you might be experiencing.

Care First support is available by calling +44 (0)800 197 4510 or online through the Care First Lifestyle website (username = uclstudent / password = bentham).

If you're currently overseas, you can access the same support through our Global Student Assistance Programme by calling +44 (0)1452 623 246.

Access Care First online

Support from fellow students in halls

If you're living in a hall of residence, don't forget your SRAs! Our Student Residence Advisers are fellow students who are there to help you look after your health and wellbeing while in halls. You can have a friendly chat with an SRA over the phone for guidance, support and signposting to other services.

Suicide prevention and support for those feeling suicidal

If you are feeling suicidal, the most important thing is to talk to someone. Thoughts of suicide are common - many adults will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.

You can easily talk to someone at UCL, whether that's the advisers or counsellors mentioned above, your personal tutor or transition mentor or another member of staff. For many people, it can also really help talking to friends and loved ones.

If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, or if you want to support a friend who might be, then lots more information on suicide prevention can be found on our website.

Support in a mental health crisis

A mental health crisis (when someone is at immediate risk of a suicide attempt or serious self-harm) is a medical emergency like any other, and so should be treated by medical professionals.

If you're in this situation or if someone else you know is, the best response is always to go to the nearest hospital A&E (Accident & Emergency) department for urgent care.

If you're concerned about someone else

Maybe a friend of yours seems in a low mood or isn't interacting with others? Maybe you and your friends haven't seen or heard from them in a while? Whatever your concern is, if it's not an immediate crisis then you can let us know in Student Support and Wellbeing and we'll follow this up to make sure they're OK.

You can easily let us know your concerns for someone else through our simple online form.

Let us know you're concerned about another student

Looking after yourself

Our UCLcares platform is filled with helpful articles on all aspects of student health and wellbeing, many of them written by students themselves! It also includes a number of free online wellbeing events that can be very useful for anyone struggling with their mood, stress or anxiety, such as yoga classes or guided meditation and mindfulness.

We also have a wide range of resources for mental health and wellbeing on our website, to help you address a number of common wellbeing difficulties from sleep to alcohol use. 

Interrupting your studies

For some students facing health and wellbeing difficulties, taking a break from your studies might be the best option. All students have access to this option, and it's best to first discuss this with your department if you're thinking about it. You can find out more about the interruption of study process here on the Students website.

Support for international students

If you're an international student new to the UK, we strongly recommend that you complete the Online Orientation for New Students if you haven't already done so. This will help introduce you to important aspects of British life and the UK academic system.

Don't forget that our International Common Rooms remain available - these are informal spaces for you to build connections with other international students, and they may be particularly helpful if you're feeling a little isolated due to current social distancing requirements.

Finally, the UK health care system can sometimes seem rather confusing, especially for international students. To help you navigate the NHS and know where to turn for different health care issues, we've put together the video below with staff at our partner GP surgery, the Ridgmount Practice.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygj3CyozDYU

We're continuing to support you

Our services remain available to all our students and we're committed to providing the same level of support while the UCL community are working and studying remotely. Read this handy summary for an overview of how are services have changed due to COVID-19.

We hope Reading Week is a productive time for you but also a chance to relax and unwind! England's new national lockdown may seem daunting, but remember that we're here to help, so please get in touch with us if you think you might need support.

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing