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.
- Same-day appointments with our DMHW (Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing) team - to book an appointment with an adviser, please submit an enquiry through askUCL and a member of our team will be in touch, or call +44 (0)20 7679 0100.
- Counselling with SPCS (Student Psychological and Counselling Services). To access counselling, students need to complete an online registration form, which can be found on the 'Accessing counselling' page here.
- SilverCloud (login required) - a free online resource of self-paced psychoeducational and CBT programmes for mental health, wellbeing and chronic health issues, available to all UCL students. Find out more about SilverCloud here.
UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (including Student Psychological and Counselling Services) are not able to provide any kind of emergency or crisis support.
Specific mental health difficulties
Support is available for a wide range of mental health difficulties which you may be experiencing.
- Anxiety and worry
Anxiety is a normal response to situations that we perceive as threatening to us. We all experience it now and again and 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. Anxiety can begin to have a negative impact on one’s life should it develop further. Some people will be diagnosed with anxiety-related mental health conditions such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, where specific treatment and support is available.
Here are some common ways that anxiety can manifest:
- Heart pounding, racing, skipping a beat
- Headaches; feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- 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 you’re 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 doesn’t 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 the quality of one’s life. In some cases, severe depression can trigger thoughts of death and suicide. Below are some common signs or symptoms you may experience:
- 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
At university, socialising and hobbies which used to light you up no longer help and you may withdraw even further into yourself, 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.
The good news is with the right treatment and support, people living with depression can make a full recovery. UCL Student Support and Wellbeing is here for you and we encourage you to get in touch to access our services.
- Drugs and alcohol misuse or addiction
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of hurting yourself or others:
Substance abuse can impact a person's physical and mental health, as well as social relationships, family, work, university, and quality of life. Drugs, alcohol, nicotine, solvents and even food can start as ‘props’ to help you get through difficult times, but the feelings of relief are only temporary. As the problems aren’t disappearing, you may use more and more of them and risk becoming dependent on them – which can create new problems 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 – arguments, violence
- Long-term mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
If you have become physically dependent and need to stop drinking or taking drugs completely, stopping overnight could be harmful. You should get advice about this from your GP and about any medicine you may need to do this safely.
Whatever you may be going through, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing is here to support you and we encourage you to get in touch with us.
- Eating disorders, body image and weight
An eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice or “phase”. It's is a serious mental illness that can involve extreme concern about eating, weight or shape, plus disordered eating. Eating disorders we might hear about or experience ourselves include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and “other specified feeding or eating disorders”. Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but during adolescence and early adulthood are the peak time periods. 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. 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, we encourage you to reach out and access UCL Student Support and Wellbeing services. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that you get the right support.