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Concerned about a student or yourself?

Not everyone with a mental health or wellbeing difficulty will display outward signs of their distress. However, there may be certain signs which could indicate that someone is experiencing problems with their mental wellbeing.

Remember that everyone is different; an individual experiencing mental health or wellbeing difficulties may exhibit just a few or many of the signs and symptoms listed below.


  • Agitation, irritation or argumentativeness
  • Excitable or restless
  • Apathy, withdrawal from everyday activity including study and socialising
  • Studying to the exclusion of everything else, including eating and sleeping
  • Obsessiveness and over-conscientiousness
  • Reduction in conscientiousness
  • Disturbed appetite (eating too much or too little)
  • Disturbed sleep (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Excessive consumption of mood altering substances, including alcohol
  • Decline in performance and interest in study
  • Frequent sickness & absences from lectures and/or seminars
  • Self harm including cutting, burning and self-poisoning


  • Reduction in attention to appearance and poor personal hygiene
  • Marked weight loss or increase
  • Looking excessively drawn or tired
  • Bizarre, unusual and out of character dress
  • Signs of self harm, e.g cuts to arms

Mood and Cognitions

  • Feeling empty or low in mood
  • Noticeable mood swings
  • Irritation
  • Tearfulness
  • Overwhelming anxiety or anger
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Persistent negative thoughts about self or others
  • Thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Bizarre or paranoid thoughts
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Thoughts about death/suicide


There are a number of sources of support both within the University and externally. The University's Wellbeing Advisors are available to meet with students experiencing a range of wellbeing and emotional difficulties.

The University also has a dedicated Counselling Service, offering individual face-to-face sessions, in addition to email counselling, therapy groups and student workshops covering a number of issues.

Student mental health problems can happen to anyone, but support is available. Staffordshire University student Max Haynes' short film about anxiety and depression:

Quick Links

Wellbeing Advisors

Counselling Service

University Health Centre

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

Worried a friend may be struggling to cope with life? Here are some tips on how to help. The Samaritans - How to Help a Friend in Need.

Please see our Information for Parents or Guardians if you are concerned about a student.