This page aims to highlight some of the sources of support available to you (or a friend) experiencing mental health difficulties. Even if things are difficult, you are not alone.
The first step is recognising the issue: Samaritans lists some of the key signs of struggling to cope.
Very urgent support
contact the College Porters (trained to deal with emergencies)
for urgent medical advice, call 111 (select 'option 2' for 'mental health crises'; see more information here)
for urgent medical attention, get a taxi to A&E or call 999 for an ambulance (see information about A&E here)
Support options in college
College Counsellor (if applicable)
College Mental Health Advisor (if applicable)
Tutor (see duties)
(On) Duty Tutor (contact details available via porters)
Director of Studies (DoS), if applicable (see duties)
College Welfare Officers (note: have less time and expertise than the professional services)
See your college welfare page for more welfare information
Other support available
Contacting a listening line for support (you can usually message as well as ring)
Samaritans (volunteer-run service)
Nightline (student-run service; available 7pm-7am during term-term)
IM Alive (instant messenger)
Kooth (local instant messaging service with trained counsellors for under-25s; available evenings)
These are some of their pages that are likely to be particularly useful: sleep problems, eating problems, stress, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, loneliness, medication, suicidal feelings, and self-harm.
Offers individual and group counselling, workshops and self-help leaflets
Note that indicating greater availability will reduce wait times. Urgent cases will also be seen sooner, and may be referred to within-service Mental Health Advisors, for practical crisis support.
Provides (Cambridge-specific knowledge) for impartial, non-judgmental and non-directive advice regarding the problem(s). You can phone or email, make an appointment or just drop-in.
Speak to your GP about support and treatment available (including potential medication). You can read more about drugs and treatments on Mind's website, and see more information about accessing the NHS in Cambridge here.
Visit the Keep Your Head website, a site that brings together local support services for young people (NB: targeted at sixth-form age)
Recognise that while not mental health problems in themselves, anger, and alcohol and drug use, can be connected to mental health problems, either as contributing factors or as symptoms. As well as visiting the above links to find out more about each of these issues, people you can talk to include your College Nurse or GP and the UCS.
Specific Support Services
Mental health problems are not caused by an absense of self-care. Nonetheless, self-care is important in helping maintain and manage mental and physical health. Self-care is also important in reflecting that you are worthy of care (which you definitely are).
Here are some self-care ideas for a bad day from the Mighty
See also this useful interactive self-care guide for when 'you feel shit', by Jace Harr
Finally, here's some more information on the meaning of 'self-care' and its importance
Disability support for the longer term
If you have a diagnosed mental health problem, you may be entitled to reasonable adjustments. Arrange a meeting with a Disability Advisor via the reception (email firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss this.
A political campaign and space for finding solidarity. Note in particular the DSC's Guide to Undergraduate Intermission, if intermission is something you're considering.
Improving understanding of mental health problems
Mind's A-Z of Mental Health
Blueprint, a Cambridge-based zine founded by Micha Frazer-Carroll that looks at mental health from an intersectional perspective
Recognise intersectionality with other issues, e.g. experiences of discrimination negatively impacting on mental health
Supporting someone else
Read this CUSU Welfare and Rights guide on 'How to Support your Friends'
See this Mind 'helping someone else' page
Don't forget to look after yourself!
If you don't know where to start, turn to the Students' Unions' Advice Service and/or your tutor, since both of these can help you work out which services are best suited to your needs, and help you access these.