Mental Health

[ Mental Health ] [ Depression ] [ Anxiety ]


Mental health is a state of mind, how we are feeling and thinking.  The World Health Organisation defines good mental health as:-

“Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder.  It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” 

Mental health problems are very common, can be severe and long-lasting.  They can also have a big impact on people’s ability to get on with life.  Although diagnoses may help to identify treatment and support, no two people behave exactly the same way when they are unwell so mental health conditions can be difficult to treat.  One of the best ways to support someone with a mental health problem is to enable them to reach out for treatment and support by being non-judgemental and approachable.



  • Watch Hazel’s video! See below or link:-
  • If a student chooses you to open up to – please respect that, do not tell them to find student support – they have chosen you for a reason.  Find a confidential space and listen to them.  You may not feel knowledgeable enough to advise, but listening in itself is a powerful statement.  Students may only need someone to ‘hear’ them but if it becomes clear they need and want further help, you can then help them to engage with that.
  • Be aware of stressful situations such as asking students to work in groups and aim to facilitate group making rather than asking students to form their own.
  • Offer students an opportunity to speak to you one to one at the end of a session or to make an appointment to see you if they need to discuss any issue confidentially.  Remind students there are specialist support teams in the University too.
  • If you are supporting a student having a panic attack, the best thing you can do is be with them, remind them that they are safe and let them know you will stay with them.  The student is likely to have their own coping strategies so you can ask them what normally helps.  Find out more
  • Where appropriate in lectures and seminars, discuss issues such as mental ill health to remove any stigma that individuals might have around the issue (normalise it).  Don’t make it a taboo subject.
  • If your lesson topics include sensitive subjects such as suicide, self-harm and abuse let students know in advance that you’ll be covering these topics and ensure they know they can take a break if they need to.


You may find it interesting to listen to a student perspective on support at University for students with mental ill health, the link here takes you to a recent student’s experience:-

Everyone has mental health, the Mental Health Foundation discusses mental health in the following way[1]:-

Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem.

If you’re in good mental health, you can:

  • make the most of your potential
  • cope with life
  • play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.

Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’ and it’s just as important as good physical health.

When we are discussing students with mental ill health, we are not talking about students having general stress or feeling unhappy, we are referring to individuals who have diagnoses of depression, anxiety or any mental ill health condition that has affected them and what they can do over a long term period.


[ Mental Health ] [ Depression ] [ Anxiety ]


You may wish to find out more about mental health through the Mental Health Foundation at:-

There is further information on mental health and well being within the student information handbook which you may find interesting or you may wish to signpost students to.  This can be found here

Whilst depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions, there are many more.   Staff are encouraged to enhance their mental ill health knowledge specifically on depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders as a minimum although there are many more that you may wish to look up. Useful links to find out more about specific mental health problems can be found below.

For an A-Z of mental ill health conditions see:-

And types of issues, people may experience:

For links to MIND organisations that can support individuals:

The following may also be really useful for both students and teaching staff alike:- and on understanding the challenges of student life