Mental Health

Mental Ill-Health isn’t something you have to go through on your own…

Everyone has to look after their mental health. It includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, affecting how we think, feel and act. Much like our physical health, we can experience good and bad mental health. Many factors contribute towards our mental state and our susceptibility to mental ill-health, such as biological risk-factors, family history and our life experiences.  

It is important to recognise signs of mental ill-health and to understand, for each of us, how our environment and events in our lives have an impact, how we manage that impact and what we can do to maximise our mental wellness.

At least 1 in 4 people experience some form of problem with their mental health in the course of any year* and recent surveys suggest that this is even higher among students at university. Taking action early can prevent things from getting worse and there is a variety of support available on campus, in Birmingham and nationally to help.

*The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001.

World Mental Health Day: #BehindTheMask

Guild Advice and the Student Mentor Scheme team up every year for World Mental Health Day to raise awareness around mental health on campus. We want to help you understand triggers, spot the signs and access support at UoB. We also want to stamp out any stigma and champion the knowledge that anyone and everyone can and will suffer poor mental health at some point in their lives. You might look around and think that you’re alone in your situation, but you’re not; World Mental Health day serves a purpose to remind you that you never know what someone could be dealing with or what might be hidden behind the mask.

TimetoChange have pulled together some facts and statistics which help challenge the stigma that many people still face. We hope by using superheroes we can contribute to reducing the stereotype associated with those that suffer from mental ill-health.

One of our aims for this campaign is to help you understand how to maintain a postive, healthy mind, so we’ve come up with a diagram to help:

World Mental Health Day - The diagram is a continuous cycle which concentrates on 4 key aspects:

  • MINDFULNESS - knowing what constitutes a positive state of mind for you. “A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
  • understanding your TRIGGERS – so what may impact on your positive state of mind
  • having AWARENESS - acknowledging when your mental health is suffering
  • and seeking appropriate SUPPORT to re-address the balance of negative and positive emotions, and as part of this you have to work on your MINDFULNESS again, so the whole cycle starts over.

We also want to share the five steps to wellbeing.

Research has demonstrated that these can really help to boost your mental wellbeing;

  • Connect – connect with those around you: your family, friends and neighbours. Make a phone call or drop-in and see people, it’s important to develop your support network. Find out more here.
  • Be active – we appreciate the gym isn’t for everyone, but at least get out for some fresh air and exercise; take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Learn more here.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills (outside of your University studies) can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up to a Society, learn to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Other ideas can be found here.
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks; the Guild can help set this up for you here.
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Learn more on the NHS page; Mindfulness for mental wellbeing.



Take the time to look after yourself, be mindful and understand what constitutes a healthy mind for you. Looking after your mind might take some work – here’s some things you can do to help:

  1. Eat Well – get your fair balance of nutrients and don’t skip meals. Here are a couple of recommended recipe books; Student Cook Book & Live Below The Line Recipe Guide
  2. Sleep Well – get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in students. Having enough sleep helps you function properly and make rational decisions.
  3. Exercise – if you’re not a fan of the gym don’t worry! You can still keep active by going for a walk, going cycling or just having a kick around in the park. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life to help you de-stress after a hard day. Exercise also can help to decrease depression and anxiety and to improve your moods.
  4. Look after yourself – drink plenty of water and avoid harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
  5. Connect – connect with other people around you: your family, friends, classmates and housemates. Spend time developing relationships and your support network.
  6. Give to others – the smallest of things can count: a thank you, a smile. Giving back to others through joining a volunteering group can also help you give to others, meet new people and try out a new activity.
  7. Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, especially your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
  8. Time for you – Our top tip! Always make time for you, whether that be a soak in the bath, making time for your favourite TV programme or chilling out to your favourite album.


Be aware of your triggers - i.e. what causes you to be stressed and what has a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. Make your own list and concentrate on things that are more likely or sure to occur, rather than catastrophic things that may not happen (such as war, natural disaster or personal loss). Some examples of common triggers are:

  • too much to do / feeling overwhelmed
  • family issues/friction
  • the end of a relationship
  • spending too much time alone
  • financial problems, such as getting a big bill
  • physical illness
  • being shouted at
  • the anniversary dates of losses or trauma
  • frightening news events
  • being judged, criticised, teased, or put down
  • exposure to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • certain smells, tastes, or noises


Be self-aware and recognise when you are not yourself or when things are getting on top of you. You may notice one or more of the following:

  • Feeling worried or anxious
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Feeling depressed or unhappy
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Substance abuse
  • Changes in behaviour or feelings
  • Quiet or withdrawn
  • Feeling guilty or worthless

Mental ill-health can present in the form of



Mind Your Head

Between March 7th - 11th 2016 the Guild, with the Support of Student Services, and a bunch of student volunteers held Mind Your Head Week in Chancellor’s Court. The week promoted de-stress activities and the importance of good mental health, along with how you can access mental health support at the Guild, University Support Services and local charities/organisations.

The Mind Your Head campaign received a great response and we’re already planning on where to take it next! If you’d like to get involved then please email

mind your head workshop images from 2015-16
more mind your head workshop images from 2015-16 - students taking part in groups and working
mind your head workshop images from 2015-16 - ross holding 'whats your #mindyourheadtip - sing - even if no one wants you to
mind your head workshop images from 2015-16 - view of the marquee from the outside in chancellor square

support services

Seek help, whether that’s from a friend, a parent/carer, a tutor or support services at the University. There is also a range of professional support available locally and online…

Guild / University Support

If you’re suffering from mental ill health, you don’t need to face everything alone. Seek help, whether that’s from a friend, a parent/carer, a tutor or support services at the University . There is also a range of professional support services available locally and online that can help…

GP / Doctor

Your GP is often a good place to start to talk through how you are feeling, particularly if you are experiencing frequent low moods. They can help you decide on the best course of action in terms of coping mechanisms and support. It is important to register with your local GP as soon as possible if you are new to the area. 

Mental Health Advisory Service

The University’s Mental Health Advisory Service is based in the Aston Webb Student Hub and works with students with mental health difficulties, with the aim of enabling them to achieve their academic potential.

Confidential advice is available from mental health advisors who are qualified practitioners and have a wealth of experience in supporting students.



Birmingham Nightline is a confidential and anonymous listening and information service run by students, for students – available to access when other university services are closed.

Open every night of term, and regularly throughout the holidays, you can contact them for a chat about your worries and concerns in a confidential and non-judgemental environment.

Get in touch with Nightline via their instant messaging service or access their confidential listening service via email.

Learn more about Nightline, their opening times and how to access support.


A drop-in service based in Birmingham City Centre, you can just drop-by to have a chat with someone about how you’re feeling, or use their tech-space to research things you might be worried about. Pause is there to support you in exploring your thoughts, feelings and emotions, or anything that might be going on in your life, that you need help working out. 

Open Door Youth Counselling

Provide one to one counselling for children and young people age 12-26 in the Birmingham area.

Birmingham Mind

Birmingham Mind is the largest independent mental health charity providing services in and beyond the City of Birmingham’s boundaries. They promote wellbeing and recovery, provide high quality support and challenge the stigma of mental distress.

Tel - 0121 608 8001
Email -

Self-Help Guides

Written by a clinical psychologist, these guides are here to offer you practical advice on 19 wellbeing issues. You can access the guides in both PDF and audio file form here


Samaritans provide confidential emotional support for anyone in need, no matter what you are experiencing.
116 123 (Freephone)


PAPYRUS is the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. They deliver awareness and prevention training, campaign on national policy and provide confidential support and suicide intervention through HOPELineUK.

HOPELine: 0800 068 41 41


CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK.
What is calm?


Harmless is a user led organisation that provides a range of services about self-harm including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self-harm, their friends and families and professionals.

Chinese Mental Health Association

CMHA provide a diverse range of services with the aim of serving Chinese people who suffer from mental health related issues and problems.


SANE is a UK-wide charity working to improve quality of life for people affected by mental illness.

0845 767 8000

Depression Alliance

Depression Alliance is the leading UK charity for people with depression. They work to relieve and to prevent this treatable condition by providing information and support services to those who are affected by it via their publications, supporter services and network of self-help groups for people affected by depression.

Mental Health Foundation

Founded in 1949, the Mental Health Foundation is a leading UK charity that provides information, carries out research, campaigns and works to improve services for anyone affected by mental health problems, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Eating Disorders


Is the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families


Information on mental health and eating disorders provided by YouthNet UK a registered charity.

Contact Us

Comm. Wardens - 0121 415 8968

Guild Advice - 0121 415 8965

Guild Lettings - 0121 415 8376

Student Mentors - 0121 415 8967

Global Buddies - 0121 415 8984






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