Being a student can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. University is often described as being the best years of your life but, in reality, university life is often a far more complicated mix of emotions and experiences than that. Students are faced with a constant flow of new challenges; moving away from what they know, living independently and balancing a budget, accruing debt, trying to make new friends, trying to get to grips with different methods of teaching and often an awful lot more work to juggle. Moving away can be exciting, getting independence and meeting new people can be great, yet also filled with new responsibility, pressure and worry. Coping with new challenges can be rewarding but can also impact your mental health.
University is often described as being the best years of your life but, in reality, university life is often a far more complicated mix of emotions and experiences.
If your mental health has started to decline, you may not initially realise that it is your mental health at issue. Symptoms of mental health problems can 'creep up' on you and the cause is not always obvious. You may, for example, start to notice lethargy and memory problems, sleep and appetite issues, constant rumination and procrastination or increasingly negative or anxious thoughts. You may be short tempered when you were previously easy going, or find yourself avoiding situations because of a lack of self confidence or anxiety about meeting people or going out.
The main thing to remember is, you are not alone and you can do something about it. Living with poor mental health can be exhausting and the battle can seem endless but, if you find that you start to feel that way, it does not mean you will feel that way forever. If you are living with a mental health problem, or are supporting someone who is, having access to the right information and support is vital.
If you or someone you know are suffering with a mental health issue there are a number of support options available to students within the University:
If you or someone else requires urgent support you can:
Dial 999 and then also inform Security Dial +44 (0)29 2087 4444, if the situation involves: imminent danger, suicidal intention, possessing a weapon, threats of harm, physical injury, death of a student or terrorism.
Dial +44 (0)29 2251 8888 and select Option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if the situation involves: a risk to yourself or others, erratic behaviour, behaviour changes, disengagement, or missing persons. Your concerns will be picked up by the University's Student Intervention Team, who will respond to your query where possible within one day between 10:00 and 16:00 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) term time only.
For 24/7 support from NHS Direct Wales, dial +44 (0)845 46 47 or visit NHS Direct Wales.
Self-help is an increasingly popular way of managing wellbeing concerns such as low mood or anxiety.
Self-help involves using evidence-based resources to manage and overcome difficulties without the support of a professional. Using self-help resources is often the recommended first step to tackling mental health and wellbeing concerns, unless your difficulties are severe, complex and/or enduring.
The University have a wealth of self-help resources available on their Self-help resources intranet page. The resources are divided into sections by topic and, within each section, you will find information about the topic, some tips from practitioners from the Health and Wellbeing team and self-help resources which come in a variety of formats eg websites, mobile phone apps and books.
Support from a Fellow Student
If you would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can get peer support from a Wellbeing Champion. Wellbeing Champions, Postgraduate Champions and LGBT+ Champions are student volunteers who have received health and wellbeing training in order to provide peer support to fellow students.
They offer knowledge, experience, and social or practical help to fellow students, promoting the importance of self-care, providing information and signposting on a range of wellbeing-related issues and taking part in promotion activities across campus.
Wellbeing Champions can provide support to any students who require it; Postgraduate Champions are postgraduate students who can offer support to fellow postgraduates, and LGBT+ Champions are student volunteers who identify as LGBT+ who can offer specific support for fellow LGBT+ students.
Full information is available on the University's Wellbeing Champions intranet page.
TalkCampus is powered by the leading mental health support network TalkLife, TalkCampus brings students who are going through the same struggles together. It is professionally moderated and provides:
- instant connection with someone to talk to, to listen, a friend and someone who understands what you are going through in a safe, effective and encouraging environment
- a social network where you can talk anonymously about your worries and how you are really feeling any time of the day or night with students from all over the world
- a peer-support community that values research, evidence and impact to make sure you get the best help possible.
Download TalkCampus for free today from the App Store or Google Play and register with your @cardiff.ac.uk email address.
Student Space is led by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity. They offer a range of trusted information, services and tools to help you with the challenges of student life, including;
Counselling and Wellbeing
The University's Counselling and Wellbeing Team offer support if you are experiencing personal, emotional or psychological difficulties. Some of the most common things that students approach Counselling And Wellbeing to address are:
- academic problems, including loss of motivation
- difficulties with sexuality
- eating disorders
- loneliness, or homesickness
- low, or lost, self- confidence
- sexual problems
However, this list is not exhaustive – there may be many other things that are causing you concern about your emotional state. It might be a recent event, or something from the past that is affecting you. Sometimes people are unsure about the cause of their concern or even do not know exactly why they are unhappy.
You can contact the Counselling & Wellbeing Team;
If you would like to refer yourself for counselling with the Counselling and Wellbeing Team, you will need to complete the brief self-referral form to request online support.
Mental Health Advisers
The University have two specialist Mental Health Advisers, whose role is to focus on how a student's long term mental health condition is affecting their ability to function at University and to offer a range of practical and holistic support options based on that student's individual needs and situation. They can:
- discuss the impact your mental health condition is having on your ability to learn, engage and reach your potential in the academic environment;
- with your consent, liaise with academic schools and other university services to explore and request reasonable adjustments, if appropriate;
- support you to request adjustments to your examinations, if appropriate;
- provide advice and guidance on applying for, and accessing practical support, funded by Disabled Students Allowance or alternative funding, if appropriate;
- If you request, offer you a review of your university support to ensure it is meeting your needs in the academic environment;
- provide information and guidance on self-help resources;
- provide information on support available through local NHS and Voluntary Sector mental health services;
- liaise with GP's and Community Mental Health Services when necessary.
To book an appointment with a Mental Health Adviser, you will need to contact them with the days and times which best suit you. Initial appointments are about one hour long. If you need an appointment at the Heath Park Campus, contact them via email in the first instance.
You can contact your GP to discuss any concerns you have about your mental health and how you are feeling. It can be incredibly difficult to explain how you are feeling at first and GP appointments can feel very rushed, so it is a good idea to write some notes of the points you want to cover in advance.
Your GP can offer self-help suggestions, prescribe medication, refer for counselling and/or refer you for specialist mental health support if necessary.
Student Advice is a free, confidential and independent service available for students of Cardiff University. We are independent of the University and our role is to give you impartial advice and guidance and help you understand the options available to you.
If your circumstances are impacting your wellbeing and/or ability to study and perform at your usual level, we can
- advise you on how to report Extenuating Circumstances to the University;
- advise you on how to submit and Academic Appeal if you have missed the Extenuating Circumstances deadline, or you circumstances have been refused;
- advise you on how to take an Interruption of Study and what you need to think about when deciding what to do;
- signpost you to other support services.
- Anxiety UK Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
- Bipolar UK a charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
- Mind Cymru the Welsh branch of the mental health charity, Mind. Mind Cymru provides information and guidance and can help you to find local support.
- No Panic a voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
- Papyrus a young suicide prevention society.
- Samaritans a confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
- Student Minds the UK's student mental health charity that aims to empower students to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health and support others.
- Student Space Wellbeing resources and advice.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410