Mental Health Resources
Where can I get help?
Being a student can sometimes be a stressful and overwhelming experience. The main thing to remember is, you are not alone.
If you or someone you know are suffering with a mental health issue there are a number of services available to students within the University.
The Wellbeing walk-in sessions offer an opportunity to discuss your circumstances face-to-face with our staff. You do not need to book in advance.
Students can attend the daily walk-in service without an appointment and have a 10-15 minute chat with a member of the wellbeing team. The team can offer advice, support and information, self-help materials, books and referrals for further support.
There are many sources of support available if you are experiencing personal, emotional or psychological difficulties. Some of the most common things that students go to counsellers to address are:
- academic problems, including loss of motivation
- difficulties with sexuality
- eating disorders
- loneliness, or homesickness
- low, or lost, self- confidence
- sexual problems
If you wish to speak to a counsellor, please see the link below.
Every student struggles with their workload from time to time, but while a little pressure can help with motivation, when you feel like you can’t cope it can be extremely detrimental to your health. So if you find yourself frequently biting your nails or pulling out your hair, then read on to discover the impact that stress can have on your body.
How does stress affect my body?
Stress may originate in the mind, but it also affects your body. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways and if you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms it could be a direct result of stress.
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Muscle Pain or Tension
- Loss of Appetite
- Poor Concentration
- Prolonged stress can also cause high blood pressure
How can I reduce stress?
Everyone reacts to similar scenarios in different ways so it’s important to identify your triggers and learn to recognise what makes you start to panic. It could be anything from financial pressures or a looming deadline to an awkward social interaction.
One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is to practice good time management. As tempting as it may be, don’t leave all of your work until the last minute, instead aim to have a draft completed several weeks in advance. It’s often getting started that’s the problem and once you’ve put a few words down the task may not seem as difficult as you first thought.
Some foods can help to reduce the likelihood of developing stress, while others can increase it. Caffeine and sugar can both act as triggers, so filling yourself up with energy drinks at the last minute may not be too advisable. On the other hand salmon, turkey, dried apricots and sweet potatoes can all have a calming effect. It’s important to recognise that your diet could have an impact on how you’re feeling; ensure that you make enough time to get a balanced diet rather than skipping the cooking to indulge in high sugar, high fat, and ready meals.
Exercise has also been known to act as brilliant way of relieving stress. A well-known thought is that a healthy body aids a healthy mind. Fitting in a bit of exercise into your daily routine may in the long run help manage the stresses you are feeling.
Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. You may find that you feel particularly anxious around stressful exam periods.
Anxiety feels different for everyone. You might experience some of the things listed below, and you might also have other experiences or difficulties that aren't listed here:
- a churning feeling in your stomach
- feeling light-headed or dizzy
- pins and needles
- feeling restless or unable to sit still
- headaches, backache or other aches and pains
- faster breathing
- a fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
- sweating or hot flushes
- problems sleeping
- grinding your teeth, especially at night
- nausea (feeling sick)
- needing the toilet more or less often
- changes in your sex drive
- having panic attacks.
Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. For example, it may be a problem for you if:
- your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time
- your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation
- you avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious
- your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control
- you regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks
- you find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy.
Self Help Tips
Living with anxiety can be very difficult, but there are steps you can take that might help. This page has some suggestions for you to consider:
For more information on anxiety, what to look out for and how to help those around you that may be dealing with anxiety, you can visit the webpages of Mind a UK based mental health charity.
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.
Symptoms of Depression
How someone may feel when suffering with depression:
- down, upset or tearful
- restless, agitated or irritable
- guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- empty and numb
- isolated and unable to relate to other people
- finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- a sense of unreality
- no self-confidence or self-esteem
- hopeless and despairing
How someone may act if they are suffering with depression:
- avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
- self-harming or suicidal behaviour
- finding it difficult to speak or think clearly
- losing interest in sex
- difficulty in remembering or concentrating on things
- using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- feeling tired all the time
- no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
- physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated
How to support someone who is suffering from depression
The support of friends and family can play a very important role in someone recovering from depression. Here are some suggestions for how you can help.
- Support them to get help. You can't force anyone to get help if they don't want it, so it's important to reassure your loved one that it's OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. See our pages on how to support someone else to seek help for their mental health for more information.
- Be open about depression. Lots of people can find it hard to open up and speak about how they're feeling. Try to be open about depression and difficult emotions, so your friend or family member knows that it's OK to talk about what they're experiencing.
If you want to know more about depression like what it is, how to spot it and how to help those around you who may be suffering from it, you can click here to find out.
Mental Health Advisers
You may wish to speak with a mental health adviser as a first port of call. The Mental Health Adviser's role is to focus on how your long term mental health condition is affecting your functioning at university and to offer a range of practical support options based on your individual needs and situation.
Mental Health Advisers 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 should contact them and provide them with the days and times which best suit you. Their initial appointments are about one hour long. If you need an appointment at the Heath Park Campus, you should contact the Mental Health Advisers via email in the first instance.
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2087 4844
This is a student-led, confidential listening service which offers emotional support and information for students in Cardiff.
The line is available 8pm-8am.
For further information of the Students Support Wellbeing Services, look at the Cardiff University Intranet.
Other contacts you may find useful
Big White Wall
Centre for mental health
Time to Change