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Wellbeing resources

Whilst at university, it's important to look after your body, mind and those around you. Taking small steps can have a big impact in helping you find balance between your studies and wellbeing.

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Support available from UCL Student Support and Wellbeing 

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 offering a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to talk. 

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (including Student Psychological and Counselling Services) are not able to provide any kind of emergency or crisis support. 

Specific wellbeing issues

These resources can be used by you or anyone you know that has been affected by the issues below.

Bereavement

Bereavement sometimes also referred to as grief, is a term used to describe the sense of loss felt when someone close to us or who we care about dies. It can be difficult and stressful and nearly everybody goes through it at some point in their lives.  

You may feel depressed, angry, empty, or you may be concerned because you don’t seem to be feeling anything at all. Everyone experiences grief differently and there is no 'normal' or 'right' way to grieve. How we react will be influenced by many different things, including our age and personality, our cultural background and religious beliefs, our previous experiences of bereavement, our circumstances and how we cope with loss.   

Sources of support and advice 

If you think you need help, UCL is here to support you. Our counsellors can support students who have experienced bereavement and work closely with bereavement organisations in the area. We encourage you to get in touch with us and access our services

Find out what bereavement support is available to you from external organisations, including practical advice, counselling and local support services. 

Explore other online resources and apps for bereavement support, including short courses. 

Find further reading material about support for bereavement in the online self-help library.

  • Guide for students affected by the sudden death of a peer 

If you experience the sudden loss of a friend or other peer at UCL, this guide provides information on the steps that need to be taken by UCL and the authorities, and outlines the support services available to you here and elsewhere. 
Read our guide for students affected by the sudden death of a peer. 

  • UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser 

The Rev'd Liz Baughen, the UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser, is available to provide pastoral support to all students affected by bereavement, whether you identify with a faith group or not. 
Email Liz to arrange a support session on e.baughen@ucl.ac.uk  

Sexual misconduct, domestic violence, bullying, harassment and hate crime 

In an emergency, if you witness or experience a crime on campus, call UCL Security available 24/7 on +44 (0)20 7679 2222 or 222 from any UCL phone. 

If you are off campus, call police immediately on 999 (or local equivalent if overseas). 

In non-urgent cases, you can contact UCL’s Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Advisor, Darren Watts. 

If you’ve experienced harassment, violence or abuse, remember that it’s never your fault, and UCL is here to support you. We have a wide range of comprehensive support services available, should you need it, including support from external organisations. If you think you need help, our team of mental health and wellbeing advisers are here to listen, and we encourage you to get in touch with us and book a same-day appointment

Find out what support is available to you from external organisations, including practical advice, counselling and local support services. 

Discover apps and further online resources, including Report + Support.

Advice, information and support 

Report + Support 

If you’ve witnessed or experienced harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct, you can report this anonymously on Report + Support. You can also find information and resources about support available here. 

If you are comfortable with providing more details about the incident and your contact details, you will receive a follow-up and will be guided to access further support from  advisers, who can:  

  • talk through UCL's procedures 
  • inform you on how to make a complaint 
  • let you know what support is available 

For advice and support on filling out these reports, you can contact Students’ Union UCL’s Advice Service

You can also get in touch with the Students’ Union UCL Women’s Officer, Aarushi Menon, who leads campaigns to support women students across the university, and can also advocate on your behalf.

Report a hate crime or hate incident

If you or another UCL student is a victim of a hate crime or hate incident, please report it through Students' Union UCL. Whether or not you want to give your details is completely up to you, and if you leave your contact details, they will remain confidential within the confines of the Advice Service.

Report a hate crime or hate incident here.

Self-harm  

If you or someone else is experiencing a mental crisis and are at immediate risk of harming yourself (or someone else), call 999 in an emergency. An ambulance will be able to bring you directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital to get urgent help.  

UCLH has the nearest A&E department to UCL’s main campus - this A&E department has a dedicated mental health unit. 

Find your nearest A&E department

If you are in need of urgent mental health support, call NHS 111 to be put through to your local crisis team. 

Self-harm is intentionally hurting yourself and is often done in private. Self-harm may include scratching, cutting, overdosing on medication, biting or burning oneself. Self-harm isn’t a mental illness, but it is often linked to mental distress, including suicidal thoughts. 

Self-harm is sometimes used as a short-term way to manage overwhelming feelings and emotions; it is not a long-term solution and often treatment is required. You might feel that you are the only one who self-harms. You might feel like people close to you won’t understand. But there are ways to reach out to people to ask for help.  

Your recovery 

Sharing your experiences can help your recovery. 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 to book a same-day appointment with our dedicated team of Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing advisers.  

We recommend that you go to see your doctor as soon as possible. If you’re anxious about telling your doctor, your friends and family may be able to support you. 

If you'd like to speak to someone about how you're feeling, you can ring Care First (telephone counselling line) on +44 (0)800 197 4510 to speak with a counsellor. It is free and this service is available on a 24/7 basis to all students. 

Find out what specialist support services are available to you to help you in your recovery. 

Check out the distrACT app, developed to give you easy, quick and discreet access to general health information and advice about self-harm. 

Suicidal thoughts 

If you or someone else is experiencing a mental crisis and are at immediate risk of harming yourself (or someone else), call 999 in an emergency. An ambulance will be able to bring you directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital to get urgent help.  

UCLH has the nearest A&E department to UCL’s main campus - this A&E department has a dedicated mental health unit. 

Find your nearest A&E department

If you are in need of urgent mental health support, call NHS 111 to be put through to your local crisis team.

Download a safety plan template (PDF 250KB) 

Thoughts of suicide are common. Many adults will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. The feelings that drive suicide are often temporary and situation-specific, for instance, a stressful event associated with feelings of loss can trigger suicidal thoughts. 

If you are going through a difficult period, you may feel isolated and disconnected from your personal support networks. You may also worry about the reaction and impact on those close to you if you share thoughts of suicide. It may feel awkward to start a conversation and there isn’t a right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings. 

Talk to someone 

Starting the conversation is what’s important. You may want to talk to a trusted family member, a friend, a colleague, a staff member in your department or hall of residence, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing services, your GP, or an external organisation dedicated to supporting people experiencing suicidal feelings.  

Our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing advisers have a wealth of experience and skills including Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention training. They will listen to you and seek to understand how you are feeling. We encourage you to book an appointment with us.

Our team can help you identify and access therapeutic and/or medical support, suggest adjustments to study and agree a safety plan with you. A safety plan is a personalised plan to support you step by step during periods when you're feeling suicidal (link above). 

It is important to remember that people care and will want to help. Professional support is available and it is easy to access. 

Access further support from external organisations who specialise in suicide prevention

Look after yourself 

There are a number of ways you can look after yourself if you are feeling suicidal.

  • Firstly, you can save emergency phone numbers and what to do when you are feeling suicidal in a safety plan (link above). It can be helpful to complete the safety plan together with one of our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisers at a drop-in session or appointment. 
  • Try to be around friends or family if you can. If this is not possible, aim to get to a safe place and call them. 
  • You may also choose to call a helpline, such as one of those listed above, for support. Most of these are available out of hours.  
  • Try to not consume drugs or alcohol - these can have a substantial negative effect on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Do things you enjoy, such as listening to music, exercising, or watching a favourite TV show in order to distract yourself and take your mind off your thoughts.   

Find out more about resources that may help if you're feeling suicidal, including apps and awareness training. 

Looking after yourself

These health and wellbeing resources are here to help you make the most of your time during university and beyond. 

Check out our online self-help library for resources on self-care and positive mindset.

Exercise

Finding a physical activity that you enjoy can improve your mood, boost energy and reduce stress. There are lots of great ways to keep active at UCL, in London and at home.

Project Active  

Run by the Students' Union UCL, Project Active is about feeling empowered and having fun, but most of all enjoying being active in whatever way works for you! While sport isn’t for everyone, embracing an active lifestyle can not only help you feel physically stronger and fitter, it can also improve your mental wellbeing and resilience. You don’t have to be competitive to be active. Offers weekly exercise classes open to all UCL students and staff.  All our online classes are free for Term 2. 

All our classes are beginner friendly and open to all fitness levels, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done one before! All you need is a good internet connection and somewhere to move/stretch out.   Includes yoga, pilates, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance and more. 

Visit Project Active and book a class today. 

Bloomsbury Fitness 

Bloomsbury Fitness is UCL's on-campus gym open to all UCL students and staff. Members benefit from: free classes, a 90 piece fitness suite, a free-weight section, disabled access and accessible gym equipment, massage therapists, personal trainers, Life Fitness cardio-vascular equipment, internet enabled smart machines, Netflix, squash courts, and free inductions tailored to your specific needs. 

Visit Bloomsbury Fitness. 

Keep moving with UCLcares 

Read our blog to get top tips on fun and easy ways to get active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Visit UCLcares. 

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness is a technique that helps with preventing and alleviating many common mental health problems. It can be hard to keep up with the demands of study, work and the fast pace of living in London. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase focus and overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Practising mindfulness can be as simple as taking a few minutes a day to take notice of your senses, feelings and thoughts. It can easily be incorporated into daily life.
 
Explore the online self-help library for further reading material about mindfulness.

Find out about external support available to you to practise mindfulness.

Discover digital and app resources to help you on your mindfulness journey. 

Sleep problems

Sleep problems are very common and are often referred to as insomnia. There is no “right” amount of sleep as this varies between people depending on their age. It can be distressing when you feeling you’re not getting enough sleep at night, which in turn can make it harder to fall asleep in the first place. The most common sleep problems include: getting to sleep; staying asleep; waking too early; poor quality sleep; sleeping too much but still feeling tired. 

Sleep problems can occur for several reasons: emotional reasons, such as bereavement or a break-up; unhelpful surroundings, such as being too hot or cold; disrupted sleep routines, such as doing shift-work. 

Not getting enough sleep can seriously impact your ability to study. Getting stressed about it makes the situation worse. Find out how to break that vicious circle with support available below. 

Check out further information and advice from external organisations to help you with sleep. 

Explore the online self-help library for reading material on insomnia and sleep problems

Stress and resilience

Stress is what we feel when we are under pressure. It’s a completely normal response which we all experience from time to time and is our body’s reaction to feeling under threat; the fight or flight response. It is not dangerous. In fact, a certain amount of pressure can be quite helpful and motivating. If we have too much pressure for too long, we run the risk of a more severe stress reaction. This can be quite unpleasant in the short term, but also if stress continues and is not managed, can be really bad for our health. Common signs and symptoms of stress: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed  
  • Feelings of guilt and low self-esteem  
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Blurred vision, tired eyes  
  • Feeling sick, dizzy and faint

During your time at university, you might be snappy with your flat mates or peers, drinking or smoking more than usual, over or undereating, withdrawing from activities you normally enjoy, and forgetting things easily such as assessment deadlines. If you’re struggling, we are here for you. We encourage you to access our support services and check out sources of advice and guidance below.  

Find out what external support is available to you to help manage stress and overwhelm.  

Explore the online self-help library for further reading material about stress.  

Discover online programmes and app resources to help manage stress

Exam success guide

At UCL, it's normal to have lots of coursework, in-class tests and exams, which can be a nerve-wracking and stressful experience. 

The exam success guide is here to help you plan and prepare to the best of your ability for exam day. The examination period is an understandably challenging time, and few of us can honestly say that we don't get at least a little nervous before sitting an exam. As much as we might sometimes dislike them, exams are in most cases an essential means of assessment, and there is plenty we can do to tackle our stress and achieve our best. 

Explore the exam success guide here.