Living with Mental Health Conditions
Students are probably no more or no less likely to suffer from mental health problems than anyone else their age. However, many people who encounter mental health problems do so at the age when they are students. The College is keen to help any student who thinks that he or she may be affected by a mental health condition. We also wish to do whatever we reasonably can do in order to help and to encourage students to maintain good mental health.
Who Can Help?
Students who have concerns are strongly encouraged to approach a member of the college staff. Suitable people include the College Nurse, the Chaplain and Welfare Fellow, or any other member of the Welfare Team (most of whom are trained in Mental Health First Aid), the Senior Tutor, their own tutor, or anyone else in whom they might wish to confide about a mental health issue. They may also contact peer supporters, or JCR and MCR welfare officers.
Students who confide in any of these people can expect a sympathetic and non-judgemental response. Any person in whom they confide will listen to what he or she is told. That person may discuss with the student what sources of support are available, and what the student’s options might be, or may suggest that the student speak to someone else who may be better placed to help.
Any information that is given will be treated on a confidential basis. This means that it will be shared within the College only on a need-to-know basis within the terms of the College’s Guidance on Confidentiality in Student Health and Welfare. Any student may also go directly to a doctor or to the University Counselling Service or other sources of support. Neither doctors nor the Counselling Service will contact the College unless a student explicitly asks them to do so.
Mental Health and Disability
Students with mental health conditions may not think of themselves as having a disability. However the Law defines a disability as any physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse affect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities. This can apply to many mental health conditions. The reason that this is relevant is that the University Disability Advisory Service can offer specialist support to students with disabilities, and can advise the College on how we can make reasonable adjustments appropriate to a student’s individual needs.
Information on why it is helpful for a student to disclose a disability to the College, and on how to do so, is available on our Students with Disabilities page.
Further Information and Resources
There are many places where students can find reliable information about mental health issues, and how they can access support for themselves and others. These include national resources, such as the NHS and charities like Mind and Student Minds.
Information about local resources and sources of support in Oxford may be found via the University Counselling Service, the University Disability Advisory Service, the Student Advice Service and the College Doctors.
A range of books and booklets about mental health issues are available in the College Library, the College Lodge, and from the Nurse, the Chaplain and Welfare Fellow, and the Disability and Welfare Administrator.
Members of the college welfare team are trained in Mental Health First Aid. They are happy to offer support or able to refer you to other services as may be appropriate.