Mental health resources

If you're experiencing a mental health or wellbeing issue, we are here to support you. All UCL students can access our free support services and a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to talk.

Support available from UCL Student Support and Wellbeing  

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (including Student Psychological and Counselling Services) are not able to provide any kind of emergency or crisis support. Please refer to our webpage on urgent and out of hours support for a list of essential contacts.

Specific mental health difficulties

Support is available for a wide range of mental health difficulties that you may be experiencing during your time at UCL.

Anxiety and worry

Anxiety is a normal response to situations that we perceive as threatening to us. We all experience anxiety now and again. In some situations, anxiety can be helpful, such as when we need to perform well or cope with an emergency. For example, it’s completely expected to feel anxious if you had to take an exam or go to hospital for surgery. 

However, anxiety can begin to have a negative impact on your life should it develop further. Some people will be diagnosed with an anxiety-related mental health condition such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, where specific treatment and support is available.

Common ways that anxiety can manifest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Heart pounding, racing, skipping a beat 
  • Headaches; feeling dizzy or light-headed 
  • Chest tightness or pain 
  • Overeating or loss of appetite 
  • Feeling restless, fidgety or shaky 

Closely linked to stress, you may be constantly on the go and feel like you have little time to look after yourself. You may avoid social situations or use smoking and drinking to cope with them. Your flat mates and peers may notice that you are being irritable or snappy with them. You may see an increase in compulsive behaviours such as persistent overeating, skin picking, washing or checking things. 

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing are here to support you. We encourage you to access our services so that you can get the right help and make positive steps to manage your anxiety.

Depression and low mood

Depression is a common mental health issue where you may feel low due to personal life stresses, including bereavement, financial, housing or relationship difficulties, losing a job or having trouble at work or university. In its mildest form, depression does not stop us from leading a normal life.

However, long periods of low mood and moderate to severe depression can be extremely distressing and have a very significant impact on your quality of life. In some cases, severe depression can trigger thoughts of death and suicide.

Common signs or symptoms include, but are not limited to: 

  • Tiredness and lack of energy, or restlessness 
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night or waking up early in the morning 
  • Changes in weight, appetite and eating 
  • Low self-esteem and confidence 
  • Lasting feelings of sadness, guilt, numbness or hopelessness 
  • Feeling alone even when in company 
  • Thoughts of suicide 

During your time at university, you may find that you don't enjoy socialising and hobbies like you used to. You may withdraw from friends and family members, and taking care of yourself becomes increasingly difficult. Maybe you are not turning up to lectures, frequently missing assessment deadlines and not answering your emails. If you feel depressed, you may feel negative towards yourself, the world and about the future.

With the right treatment and support, people living with depression can make a full recovery. UCL Student Support and Wellbeing are here for you. We encourage you to get in touch and access our wide range of services.

Alcohol or drug misuse and addiction

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of hurting yourself or others: 

  • Go directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital to get help
  • UCLH is the nearest A&E department to UCL’s main campus 
  • Call 999 to request an ambulance if you are unable to reach the hospital yourself 

Addiction is a serious mental health condition that can impact your physical and mental health, as well as social relationships, family, work, university and quality of life. You may use drugs, alcohol, nicotine, solvents or food as coping mechanisms to help you get through difficult times, but the feelings of relief are only temporary.

When your problems don't disappear, you may use more and more of a certain substance and become physically and/or psychologically dependent on it.

Dependency and tolerance to substances or addictive behaviours can further complications, such as:

  • Serious damage to organs, such as the heart, brain, and liver  
  • Diseases, such as heart disease, HIV, and cancer 
  • Trembling hands, tingling fingers, painful nerves 
  • Memory loss 
  • Aggressive irrational behaviour (such as arguments or violence 
  • Long-term mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety)

If you have become dependent and need to stop drinking or taking drugs completely, stopping overnight is highly dangerous. You should speak to your GP to find out if you need medicine or treatment to detox safely.

Whatever you may be going through, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing is here to support you. If you are struggling, please reach out and book an appointment with one of our advisers.

Eating disorders, body image and weight 

An eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice or “phase”. It is a serious mental health condition that can involve extreme concerns about eating, body weight, body shape or disordered eating.

The eating disorders we might hear about or experience ourselves include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). Contemporary research shows that eating disorders most commonly begin during adolescence or early adulthood.

Symptoms associated with eating disorders include: 

  • Thinking and/or worrying about food all the time 
  • Frequently checking or avoiding completely body shape and weight 
  • Dieting, counting calories 
  • Excessive exercise regimes 
  • Missing meals, eating alone, eating very slowly 
  • Comfort eating, feeling guilty after eating 
  • Weight loss, frequent changes in weight 
  • Missed menstrual periods 
  • Vomiting; frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals 

These symptoms can negatively impact your university experience, mental wellbeing and physical health. You may find yourself avoiding social situations with your flat mates or peers, becoming more withdrawn and feeling anxious or depressed.

If you think you need help, please get in touch with UCL Student Support and Wellbeing services. We will do everything we can to ensure that you get the right support.