Mental health, stress and anxiety

One in four of us will experience mental health difficulties at some point in our life.

It is estimated that one in four people will suffer with some form of mental health difficulties during their lifetime. For anyone entering university, adjusting to life as a student and dealing with coursework, exams and being away from home for the first time can be potentially stressful and may also intensify any pre-existing conditions.

Help and advice is available from the Student Support teams at your academic partner, along with access to trained counsellors. This also includes the online counselling service. We have also compiled a list of other external support helplines.

In addition, you may find these top ten ' Think Positive Tips' from NUS useful.

Signs of stress

Learning how to recognise when you're under stress is one of the first steps towards dealing with it.

  • Are you angry and impatient with people close to you?
  • Do you feel close to tears over small events?
  • Are you behaving differently from usual?
  • Do you feel isolated from people around you?
  • Is your self-esteem at rock bottom?

Do you have any of these physical symptoms?

  • Lack of sleep
  • Loss of appetite or irregular eating
  • Panic attacks and difficulty breathing
  • Tight, knotty feelings in your stomach
  • Low energy and lack of concentration
  • Loss of interest in things around you

Are you experiencing pre-exam panic? If you worry about exams you are not alone. Go to for helpful advice on how to deal with panic attacks and all student related anxieties.

Common causes of stress

  • exams and deadlines
  • juggling work, home and study
  • money
  • relationships
  • moving home

We are all different and what is stress to one is not the same for another. Very often stress can build up from a combination of different pressures and it might be a very small event which tips the balance.

Speak to someone you trust: your student adviser, student support staff at your college, your GP, or a support help line.

For further information and advice about specific mental health difficulties please use the links to external agencies as listed below, or visit our dedicated Support Helplines webpage for a more comprehensive list:

Bi-polar Disorder Bipolar Scotland
Schizophrenia Hearing Voices
Self-harm National Self Harm Network
Drugs Talk to Frank
Alcohol Drink Aware
Anxiety Anxiety No More
Depression Students Against Depression
Breathing Space Scotland
Eating Disorders Beat
General Mental Health See Me Scotland
Papyrus: Suicide Prevention