Student mental health support

Mental health challenges can affect any student at any time. This page includes details of where you can find support, and explains the Office for Students' role. 

Ways to get support

  • Student Minds, the UK's student mental health charity, offers lots of information on the support available while studying.
  • If you have a long-term illness, disability or mental health issue, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). You won’t need to repay DSA and you can get them on top of any other student finance you receive.
  • The mental health charity Mind has useful information about your rights to reasonable adjustments.
  • Your university or college may run their own mental health support services.

We have also funded a new platform called Student Space to support you during the coronavirus pandemic, which includes wellbeing information and free access to phone and text support.

Urgent support

If you need urgent support for yourself or a friend, there are services that can help:

  • The Samaritans are open every day of the year
  • Mind, the mental health charity offers support by phone or online
  • Papyrus will provide confidential help and advice to young people thinking about suicide and anyone worried about a young person
  • Rape crisis service provides specialist support and services to women and girls who have experienced sexual violence.

Medical advice

If you need medical advice you can:

  • book an emergency GP appointment with your GP surgery
  • call the NHS 111 (England and Wales) or NHS 24 (Scotland, 08454 242424) for urgent advice
  • call 999 or visit your nearest accident and emergency department (A&E) if it's an emergency
  • find out about longer term support available through the NHS.

What you can expect from the Office for Students

Universities and colleges are independent and have their own policies and processes. We don’t prescribe how they should support their students, as the specific needs of students in different contexts and at different institutions will vary hugely.

We're also not able to support with individual cases from students relating to mental health or wellbeing.

Our role includes:

  • Championing and promoting safe, healthy and inclusive universities and colleges that support all students to thrive
  • Identifying systemic gaps in student support
  • Supporting universities and colleges to share good practice
  • Encouraging improvement and innovation in student mental health support by awarding funding to universities and colleges to run new projects.
Read more about our work on student mental health

Notifying us

Although the OfS does not have a direct role in dealing with individual disputes between students and higher education providers, we use our ‘notifications’ process to receive information about institutions’ compliance with the ongoing conditions of registration (which is how we regulate the higher education sector). If you would like to notify us of a matter which may be a regulatory interest, you are welcome to share this information with us, although we would not intervene in an individual case.

Published 08 October 2020

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