Get help with mental health

Updated on 27 March 2024

Around one in four people will experience a mental health difficulty at some point, so it's possible that some students and staff will experience this while at university

On this page
In an emergency

If you or someone you know has immediate plans to end their life, call 999 and request an ambulance

Mental health issues vary hugely from person to person so what works for someone else may not work for you. You may be able to help yourself through a change in behaviour, or it may be helpful to get support from a trained professional.

Things you can do to help yourself

Look after the essentials

Your physical and mental health are closely connected. Taking care of your body can help you focus, stay motivated, remember, and more have energy. Consider possible improvements to:

  • Food - whether eating too much, not enough, too late at night, or a poor diet
  • Drinking - this doesn't just mean too much alcohol, too little water can also be a problem
  • Sleep - if you are staying up late and sleeping half the day, or sleeping at times that don't work well for you, you will function less well overall and feel sluggish
  • Exercise - physical activity is known to have a positive effect on mental health. If you are able to exercise, we have a city campus gym, exercise classes, and swimming pool at the Institute of Sports and Exercise. There are also sport teams you can join through the Sports Union. If you are unable to exercise, or find it difficult, just going for a walk can help improve mental health.

Feeling Good app

You can try using this audio app to support your mental wellbeing, to calm your mind, and to develop a positive mindset. Dundee students and staff get free access to the full programme using the referral codes (login required).

Try to improve your work/life balance

Just because the library may be open all night, you don’t need to be studying all night too. Working non-stop can work against you rather than improving your productivity.

Instead, work out a set number of hours to study, and then stop for the day. You may find that other activities can help take your mind off study, or whatever else may be worrying you. Then when you return to it you may find it easier to focus.

Clubs and societies

We have over 200 student-led societies, full of people sharing the same interests which can help with making friends. They are a perfect break from the lectures-library-home pattern of student life. You can make new friends, and gain those much-desired skills for your future employment.

If you would like help to join a society, to start exercising or get involved in volunteering, you can contact the University’s SWITCH initiative. There are also events for students and staff regularly promoted through email and social media.

Talk to someone at the University

It can be helpful to talk to someone rather than ignore the situation and hope that it will go away. Getting help earlier means you will feel better sooner, with less disruption to your studies, work and life.

Speak to Student Services

If you'd prefer to speak to a member of staff and you’re not sure who to contact, the Enquiry Centre can often answer your questions right away or direct you to other Student Services who can provide specialist help for students and staff, including:

  • University Counselling Service - who can help you to explore your feelings and relationships more effectively
  • University Health Service - with their own doctor and mental health nurses who can offer experienced, professional advice on the health of students and staff
  • Disability Services – who can provide confidential advice and support with mental health difficulties, including arranging Mental Health Mentoring
  • The Student Support Team can help with welfare issues that may be affecting your mental health in University accommodation. 
  • Stay on Course - this service provides support for students who may be at risk of failing or dropping out of their course. A member of the Student Support Team will work with you to come up with a plan for you to get back on track.

If you are a Medicine student based at Ninewells campus you can also speak to our Medical Student Support team.

Talk to other people

Friends and family

Friends and family know you well and can be really helpful and provide support when you are feeling low.

Your doctor

Your local doctor (GP) has access to your personal medical history and this helps give them an understanding of your personal situation. They can also refer you to other specialist services if you need this.

Outside of office hours, you can phone NHS 24 who will assess you and decide if it is an emergency or urgent enough to warrant immediate medical assessment. Either way, they will advise you of what to do next.

Multi-faith Chaplains

Chaplains from different faith traditions serve the whole University Community. As well as helping people to practice their faith and encouraging spiritual well-being, they are also a resource for any student or member of staff to speak to in confidence about issues that concern them, whether you are religious or not.

External organisations who can help

  • The Samaritans are a confidential, free, 24 hour helpline, where there is always someone available to talk and listen
  • Breathing Space is a confidential, free helpline for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety
  • Living Life Guided Self Help is a confidential telephone service from NHS 24 based on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach
  • There are a number of charities and agencies offering counselling services in Dundee, including Insight Counselling
  • Dundee's Community Wellbeing Centre is open day and night for anyone who needs help/support - phone 0800 955 0008, text 01382 604123 or face to face 4 South Ward Road, Dundee, DD1 1PN

Guides from external organisations

While there are thousands of pages of advice online, some sources of readable and trustworthy advice on mental health are:

Guide category Staff support