Help and support for mental and emotional health

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 (no appointment needed), contact us via the Student Services Hub. We understand you may feel anxious, but we are not here to judge and whatever is discussed will be treated with respect and kept confidential.

In the evenings or at weekends you can talk to Nightline, contact the Validium Student Wellbeing Support Line, or contact Chat with Charlie. If you live in University accommodation, you can contact Residence Life. Please also see the ‘External support services’ below for further information.

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

More information on the services available to you can be found in our Student Wellbeing Guides:

Workshops, groups and support

Online mental health support 

Chat with Charlie

Chat with Charlie offers online mental health support every evening between 6pm – 10pm. You can get support with exam stress, relationships, low mood, anxiety or anything else which may be troubling you however big or small it may seem.

Log on to register and chat with one of our team or find out how to get additional support. For more information, contact


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.

Other services

Mindfulness drop-in

These drop-in mindfulness sessions, led by Dr Caroline Barratt, Lecturer in HSC and trained mindfulness teacher, are open to the whole University community including staff and students. They are free of charge and there is no need to book. You may wish to bring a blanket or cushion for comfort.

If you are suffering with acute mental illness, anxiety, or have experienced recent trauma, it may not be the best time to try mindfulness practice for the first time. 

Location and time

Location: room 5.300A

Time: 1.00-1.45pm. Please arrive at 1pm for prompt 1.10pm start

Start date: Every Monday starting 13 January until 16 March (no session 24 February 2020)


For more information contact Caroline Barratt at


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.


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.

Wellbeing activities in the Hex

Arts, crafts, yoga, comedy sketch writing and V Team led activities.

Location and times

Thursdays and Fridays 12-2pm.

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.