How to cope with anxiety and depression at university

University can be a stressful time for anyone. It’s tiring, you’re swimming in coursework and often you’re away from home. So managing your mental health as well can be daunting and it may seem scary, but you’re not alone.

Mental health problems are as common among students as they are in the general population.

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When 1,061 students were asked if they had a mental health condition, 27% of them said yes. Of those students, 77% had depression and 74% had anxiety.

Here are our top 5 tips to make managing your mental health a little easier…

Talk to someone

One of the first and most important steps you can take is talking to someone. Don’t bottle up your feelings and keep it a secret. Talking to someone about how you feel is not a sign of weakness. Whether you choose to confide in a friend, family member or even a teacher, people care about you and will want to help.

If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone you’re close to, register with your university’s GP. Most universities have a GP on campus as well as a free wellbeing, counselling and mental health advisor who is there to support you.

Join a support group

Attending a support group is a great way to meet people who are going through similar things to you. You can discuss your experiences, share tips as well as support each other. One of the biggest benefits of attending a support group is realising that you are not alone, there are other people who feel the same and this can feel like a huge relief.

Find your Nightline

Nightline is a student listening service open every night of term. It is run by students for students, and gives you the chance to talk about your feelings confidentiality and anonymously with a trained volunteer.

With over 400,000 students accessing various nightlines, they are a safe place to talk about what is on your mind. Whether you choose to access Nightline via phone call, text or email, you can speak with a specially trained Nightline volunteer who follows 5 core principals: confidential, anonymous, non-judgemental, non-directional and non-advisory.

There are over 30 Nightlines covering over 90 universities. Find your Nightline.

Look after yourself

It’s essential to look after yourself and make some time for you. A healthy diet and regular physical exercise has been proven to have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health. Exercise can also help you manage anxiety and panic attacks, so why not try going for a walk or run and take some time for yourself to think things over.


Did you know research suggests that mindfulness-meditation practice has a positive effect on improving anxiety and stress, as well as helping you to focus?

There are various different meditation apps out there now to help with this and Headspace is just one of them. Headspace helps you manage your mental health and with various different meditation collections available you can pick a session to suit you.

Don’t forget, university is an incredible experience and as long as you have the right support system in place and remember you are not alone, there is no reason it should be anything else.

Mental Health helpline

No matter what time of day or night, you're never alone, there will always be someone at the other end of the phone. Here are some helplines:

  • The Samaritans – Their support line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 116 123. If you prefer to write down your feelings, or you’re worried about being overheard, you can email them to
  • PAPYRUS – This suicide prevention charity run a HOPEline every weekday from 10am–5pm and 7pm–10pm, and 2pm–5pm on the weekends
  • Mind – Mind is the UK's leading mental health charity, and you can call their infoline from 9am–6pm every weekday for further information about the mental health support in your local area
  • SANE Another leading mental health charity, SANE, run an out-of-hours helpline from 4.30pm–10.30pm every day of the year on 0300 304 7000
  • CALM – CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) has a specific focus on reducing suicide rates among young males, but still offers general mental health advice too. Their helpline and webchat is open 5pm–midnight every day of the year.

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