Help and support for mental and emotional health

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

We know this is a stressful time for many within our community and we’re continuing to provide support for your health and wellbeing. We’re here for you if you are facing challenges during this extended period of having to stay at home. There is further COVID-19 advice and support about University services and support that you may find helpful.

NHS mental health and wellbeing advice

Read NHS-approved advice on promoting mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 outbreak.

The NHS also has lots of online advice for managing mental health during this difficult time. This includes:

  • maintaining contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media
  • keeping a regular routine and sleeping pattern
  • seeking support from NHS mental health teams if you feel you need to

Self care

Mind, the mental health charity, has guidance, including tips on how to maintain good mental wellbeing if you or someone close to you needs to self-isolate.

People have told Mind that when they are in a crisis, playing a game or doing a puzzle helps to distract them and calm or slow anxious thought cycles. You might also like to read the blog that Young Minds has published.

If you already live with a mental health condition, dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 can be especially difficult. Rethink has some tips and strategies that could help. Likewise, Anxiety UK has resources to help you deal with your anxiety during this time.

If you’d like to try some meditation, visit the Calm website for a series of meditations by professional basketball player, LeBron James.


Space from COVID-19

Living through these challenging times can be unsettling and distressing, where you might feel a range of strong emotions on a daily basis. Different people will experience different reactions at different times. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

The Space from COVID-19 module on Silvercloud offers support through these challenges, equipping you with tools to manage stress and anxiety and to cope as resourcefully as possible.

Our support services 

Everyone has mental health – sometimes good, sometimes not so good. You may have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, or you may be feeling low, stressed, depressed, anxious, angry, or feeling that life isn't worth living.

Whatever your concerns are, no matter how long you've had them or whether or not you know the cause, come along to our drop-in service.  We understand you may feel anxious, whatever is discussed will be treated with respect. We are currently operating a remote drop in service. You can request a video or telephone appointment by using the online drop in service enquiry form.

In the evenings or at weekends you can contact the Validium Student Wellbeing Support Line. If you live in University accommodation, you can contact Security out of hours for advice and support. Please also see the ‘External support services’ below for further information.

  • 24 Hour Student Wellbeing Support Line: on 0800 970 5020 (outside UK: +44 141 271 7168) – this is staffed by counsellors from our partner counselling provider Validium - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • SilverCloud: an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) resource offering a range of programmes on mental health, wellbeing, and long-term conditions.
  • Validium VClub: an online support option which all University of Essex students can access
  • Colchester Campus: Security (24 hours) – 01206 872125 or 872222 in an emergency
  • Southend Campus: University Square reception - 01702 328408 or 07920 821678
  • Samaritans
  • Student Space

Contact your Student Services Hub

The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service is currently operating a remote drop in service. You can request a video or telephone appointment by using the online drop in service enquiry form.

The Counselling Service, provided by Validium, will also be offering appointments remotely. 

For any queries about COVID-19, please refer to the University's guidance.


Find out who to contact in a medical or mental health emergency

Workshops, groups and support

Online mental health support 


If you're worried, feeling low or stressed, or finding it hard to sleep, you may want to explore our new online mental health programme from SilverCloud.

Therapy for you

Therapy for you provides free online CBT-psychoeducational courses delivered by NHS therapists. Treatment is delivered through a series of video sessions that you can complete anywhere at anytime.

NHS Apps which can help support mental health 


Our University works in partnership with an organisation called Validium to offer short-term counselling to help you explore and work through problems and difficulties that are causing distress and interfering with your life at University.

Current service update

If you’d like to access counselling or continue your sessions, the student counselling team at Validium, our partner organisation, is continuing to support students by telephone or Zoom. Your drop-in assessor or case worker can tell you more and direct you to our counselling web form.

Think about creating a private space for yourself where you can speak to your counsellor freely and preferably won’t have your session interrupted.


A mentor can meet with you for regular appointments to offer:

  • help to manage your difficulties alongside your studies
  • practical and emotional support through listening and problem solving
  • assistance with independent learning and development of study skills
  • help with liaising with your department to make sure you have the support you need on your course
  • practical help in the library and help with organising your study space and study materials

Applying for mentoring

In order to apply for on-going mentoring, you will need to have received a diagnosis of a long-term mental health difficulty and apply for Disabled Students' Allowance as this can fund mentoring support for the duration of your studies. You will also need to provide evidence your diagnosis (ie. a doctor/GP letter when completing the form).

If you would like to discuss mentoring or need any help with the application process then come to the disability drop-in during our opening hours or contact us.

Getting active

Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing. Essex Sport offer a wide range of activities. The NHS have produced guidance on how to get active and the benefits exercise can give you.

Wellness walks

Followed by refreshments in the Hex. Free of charge, no need to book.

Location and times

Every Wednesday, meet outside the Silberrad Centre at 1pm, look for SU staff member.

Disabled Students' Allowance for mental health conditions

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is government funding available to UK home students to help meet the extra costs you may face as a direct result of your disability, specific learning difficulty or long-term medical or mental health condition.

If you have a diagnosed long-term mental health condition you may be eligible for DSA. This can fund extra equipment such as a digital recorder, as well as one-to-one support from a specialist mentor or tutor. You would need to provide evidence of your mental health difficulties (ie. a letter from your doctor/GP confirming your diagnosis and current treatment).

Getting a medical diagnosis

If you require an official medical diagnosis of a mental health difficulty, you will need to make an appointment to see your doctor/GP who can discuss this with you and/or refer you to a specialist service if appropriate.

External support services


Eating disorder, body dysmorphia and self-harm

Drug, alcohol and gambling addiction services

Other useful organisations

Student Services Hub
Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.

Enabling Environments accreditation

We’re working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to achieve an Enabling Environments accreditation. Environments are places where there is a focus on creating a positive and effective social environment and where healthy relationships are seen as the key to success.

The accreditation is based on their ten values, all of which are believed to be factors in positive psycho-social environments:

  • Belonging
  • Boundaries
  • Communication
  • Development
  • Involvement
  • Safety
  • Structure
  • Empowerment
  • Leadership
  • Openness

We have also signed the Mindful Employers Charter, the Charter for Employers who are positive about mental health.