Fantastic mental health support and where to find it

People who struggle with their mental health are painfully aware that it’s not an issue that can be resolved in a week. Because of this, Our Mental Health Week aims to raise awareness of student mental health support at the University of Sheffield, so that people who need help can access the support they need for the duration of their time as a student here. It also showcases different ways you can improve your mental well-being, through fun (and free!!) activities and events that will be going on all week.

When it comes to supporting students who struggle with their mental health, the University of Sheffield has loads of fantastic resources. For the new students who have started this year, and for existing students who may be unaware of how the uni can help with their mental health issues, I’ve compiled this handy guide (based on my own extensive experience) of some of the people and places who can support you and your mental health while you study here.

University Health Service

Firstly, register with the University Health Service (UHS). If you haven’t registered already, bookmark this blog for later and go and do it now. I’ll still be here wittering on once you’ve done it. Do it even if you go home regularly – it’s best to have a GP close by in case you really need it.

UHS is located in town (but still close to campus) on Gell Street; you may have stumbled past it drunk on a night out on West Street at some point. Appointments can be made through the app (Sheff Uni Health), on the phone, or in person. Emergency appointments can be booked on the day, but for general appointments there is often a short wait before you’re seen.

UHS has been my main GP surgery for the four years I’ve been in Sheffield, and I have telephone appointments with them outside of term times when I’m back home. The staff are great and there to help.

Departmental Support

Mental ill-health can really take its toll on your ability to study. Your department knows this and will have procedures in place to help you if you fall behind. Your personal tutor is also be there to offer their support; you can talk to them about personal and/or academic worries, and they, along with your department, can help alleviate some of those worries by doing things like extending deadlines and putting you in contact with other student support services.

Getting help from my wonderful Geography Department was so much easier than I thought it would be; I wish I’d told them about things sooner, rather than desperately trying to meet deadlines when things were really tough. Try and see your department sooner rather than later if you know your mental health may affect your studies so they can get you the best support plan in place in case things take a turn for the worse.

Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

Similarly, DDSS can also help if you’re struggling academically due to mental ill-health. They work alongside your department to put in place a learning support plan (LSP) that makes things like requesting deadline extensions or making exam arrangements easier. They will send the LSP to your department, who should them share it with relevant members of staff so everyone who needs to be is aware of what’s going on and how best to help you. DDSS is great at providing support for disabilities and learning difficulties, so don’t hesitate to see them if you need support.

Student Access to Mental Health Support

The University counselling service is a brilliant resource for students who need mental health support, and I would always recommend contacting them to see what advice they can give. They are not the place to go for more severe mental health conditions as they can only offer limited support (in this case I suggest going to UHS and asking them what to do), but they are very good at helping students with personal and academic worries that can be resolved fairly quickly. They offer a vital service that helps more and more students each year so use them while you’re here!

Lastly, reach out to your friends. Either to support them or to ask for help yourself. If you don’t have friends in Sheffield you can always talk to me (if you don’t mind talking about dogs and the wonders of Henderson’s Relish) or Nightline, where you can speak confidentially to someone who has been trained to listen.

Take care of yourself and others all the time, but especially during Our Mental Health Week. Remember, there is always someone to talk to, things will always get better, Henderson’s Relish goes with everything, and because uni is tough I will always attach a photo of my baby to make life easier.


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