Students getting health and wellbeing support

Your health and wellbeing matters to us

Discover the health and wellbeing services you can access when you study with us

Coming to university is exciting, but it can also be a challenge.

We understand this new change could affect your mental health, physical health and wellbeing, so you'll find lots of support when you get here. From the outset, our Student Wellbeing Service and Residence Life Team will help you settle in and guide you. We'll support you in your studies if you're living with anxiety, stress or depression, or supporting someone who is.

You'll also have free access to workshops and courses to support your mental health, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses and workshops in compassionate mind training. You can get support and guidance directly through us, or through our partnerships with wellbeing organisations across the city.

In regard to the extra help and support with uni work and student wellbeing, it was nice to know the Uni offered a lot of different services.

Lyncia Mande, BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics

How we support your wellbeing

Residence Life Team

When you move into your accommodation, you'll get free 24/7 confidential welfare support and advice from the Residence Life Team based in Bateson Hall. They manage the welfare and concerns of students living in our halls of residence, and provide support for all first-year students living in private accommodation or Unite halls.

If you're staying in our halls of residence, members of the Residence Life Team are available in person during the day. During the evenings, you can reach their out-of-hours care by calling security. If you live outside of halls during first year, you can contact the team on the phone.

You can discuss confidential matters with a member of the team by booking an appointment, or going to an evening drop-in surgery.

The Residence Life Team can help you by:

  • Mediating difficulties with flatmates
  • Listening to concerns about your studies and signposting you to support
  • Responding to an emergency situation

Residence life assistants

The Residence Life Team has student assistants who can use their own experience of living in halls to support you. They're trained in all likely issues and are available in halls to help you for 2 hours every evening during the week.

Residence Life Team events

The Residence Life Team runs a programme of events during the year to help you settle in and have the best possible experience while living away from home. They run events including film nights, quizzes, CV workshops, karaoke nights, speed-friending and games nights.

The events are based around 4 main principles:

  1. Community building – your responsibility in a communal living environment
  2. Social – inclusivity in your community
  3. Wellbeing – your welfare, health, safety, comfort and security in our accommodation
  4. Skills – academic and study skills

Student Wellbeing Service

You can get personal and emotional support, mental health support and counselling from our Student Wellbeing Service. They organise workshops, courses and events throughout the academic year.

Welcome to the Student Wellbeing Service

Get free, confidential help

The Student Wellbeing Service is the hub for learning, advice and support for your emotional wellbeing and mental health. You can get free, confidential help for a wide range of personal and emotional concerns.

Mark Harold, Wellbeing Adviser: We are the Student Wellbeing Service. 

Michelle Dadachanjii, Counsellor: As a student at the University of Portsmouth, we want you to fulfil your potential and have a life-changing student experience. At the heart of this is the personalised package of support that we offer with a focus on wellbeing and resilience that helps you to meet your academic goals. 

The Student Wellbeing Service is the hub for learning, advice and support for your emotional wellbeing and mental health. 

Steve Daly, Wellbeing Adviser: If you are new to university life, then you may be facing a number of life challenges. Transitioning from home to a new life, financial independence, new friendships and relationships, living independently and, of course, new academic challenges and expectations. 

For all students, each level of university learning comes with new challenges and different kinds of academic stress and pressure. And this year, there is the new blended and connected approach to learning with all the changes and challenges due to the global pandemic. 

When you're facing challenges, it is likely you will find yourself feeling stressed, worried, unhappy or anxious at times. This does not mean there is something wrong with you. Learning to cope with these challenges constructively provides opportunities for growth and personal development. The knowledge and tools you will develop are life skills that you can take forward and use long after graduation. 

But if you do start to struggle at any point, please do come see us straight away. 

Mike Pink, Mental Health Adviser: The Student Wellbeing Service is a team of practitioners with a broad range of experience, expertise and skills. This allows us to provide a comprehensive package of support, including good links with the NHS and other specialist support services. We have mental health advisers, counsellors and wellbeing advisers who offer one-to-one support. Everything is set up so you can safely come in and see us for these*, or you can book a phone or video call instead. Alternatively, you can text chat anonymously with our wellbeing advisers via our WhatsUp app.
(* Note that routine in-person appointments may be suspended during lockdowns, but our reception will remain open or you can call to find out more about the best way to seek support.) 

Mark Harold, Wellbeing Adviser: When you register for support with us, we will work with you to plan a personalised support pathway. This may include one or more events from our courses and workshops programme, where you can learn positive wellbeing skills in relaxed and friendly online sessions. This includes our popular Be Your Own Best Friend workshop and our Compassionate Mind course. You can browse an extensive range of self-help information with our online resources. 

Ruth Geddes, Senior Wellbeing Adviser: We run a weekly wellbeing cafe. The cafe has transferred well to a virtual format, and we will be looking to arrange some safe in-person activities as the academic year gets underway. We also support students who have taken the Welcome Ambassador pledge and are following the University's student leadership pathway. The Welcome Ambassador scheme is a great way of easing the transition into Uni life by connecting with other students. Check out the Welcome Ambassador Facebook page for more details. 

Michelle Dadachanji, Counsellor: So, as you can see, there are a range of different options designed to give you the choice of how you may wish to use our service. For more detailed information about everything that we provide and how to access the service, please visit our website and remember, if you think you need support, please come and see us. 

1-to-1 support

When you need support, you can book a same-day short advice session or register for a longer appointment with our team of counsellors, wellbeing or mental health advisers. You'll get time and space in every session to explore your concerns and find a way forward.

If you're experiencing specific mental health difficulties, we'll assess your support needs, discuss treatment options and help you access support services and develop positive coping strategies.

Workshops and courses

If you're looking for personal development opportunities to support your wellbeing, you can sign up for workshops and courses run throughout the academic year by the Student Wellbeing Service and partnering organisations.

All workshops and courses are run in small groups, letting you share and learn from others in a relaxed and friendly environment while developing strategies that you can implement to improve your wellbeing.


The in-person bereavement support group is for students who have experienced the loss of a loved one whether recent or past. We understand that everyone has their own unique experience of grief, and we also know that sharing our stories and getting support from others who have also been bereaved can be really helpful.

We hope by facilitating this group, you can get together in a confidential and safe space to share stories, thoughts and feelings and be in a supportive space where people just 'get it'.

The Bereavement support group runs every other Wednesday (term-time only). If you feel you might benefit from meeting people who have been through something similar, we're looking forward to welcoming you.


  • Wednesday 22 March 11.00am – 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 3rd May 11.00am – 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 17 May 11.00am – 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 31 May 11.00am – 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 14 June 11.00am – 12.00pm
  • Wednesday 28 June 11.00am – 12.00pm (TBC)


Chaplaincy Lounge
Chaplaincy Centre & Prayer Rooms
St Pauls Road

Sign up here. If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

This is a weekly in-person group.


  • Wednesday 26 April 2.00pm – 3.15pm
  • Wednesdays 3 May 2.00pm – 3.15pm
  • Wednesdays 10 May 2.00pm – 3.15pm
  • Wednesdays 17 May 2.00pm – 3.15pm
  • Wednesdays 24 May 2.00pm – 3.15pm
  • Wednesdays 31 May 2.00pm – 3.15pm


Chaplaincy Lounge
Chaplaincy Centre & Prayer Rooms
St Pauls Road

How to book

Email or ring 023 9284 3466. You will need to register with the Wellbeing Service so you can meet with a practitioner one-to-one and learn more about the group before joining. We look forward to hearing from you!

Please have a look at the next tab below for frequently asked questions (FAQ) about this group.

If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

Mindfulness is an integrative, mind and body based approach that helps us change the way we think and feel about our experiences. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

These in-person sessions will offer an experiential space for students to explore movement, formal mindfulness practices, and psychoeducation principles from ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The focus will be on opening up, doing what matters, and being present.

Our hope is that students will be active participants in developing these skills and also support each other with their experiences. You don't need any prior experience with mindfulness to join, and all students are welcome.


  • Monday 15 May 4.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Monday 22 May 4.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Monday 5 June 4.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Monday 12 June 4.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Monday 19 June 4.00pm – 5.00pm


Mercantile House
Hampshire Terrace

Spaces are limited. Sign up here. If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

What will happen in this group?

The session content is student-led enabling the group to respond to different needs throughout the year. We know you're busy, so you don't have to come every week but are welcome to. You can choose whether you would like to just sit and listen or join in with the conversation. We will only ask general questions, unless we are clarifying something and there is no expectation for you to answer.

The group is about being able to be yourself and doing what is comfortable for you. 

What sort of things does the group cover?

The group is student-led and topics and their order are decided by the group. Topics can vary but can include skills for:

  • Regulating emotions (including anxiety, low mood and anger)
  • Learning to balance your sensory experiences
  • Building healthy relationships and managing difficult situations
  • Planning and organisation at University
  • Motivation and procrastination
  • Regulating energy levels

How are the sessions structured?

The weekly session structure follows this pattern:

  • Welcome to the session and an outline of the topic that will be covered
  • Feedback about trying out the skills learned in the previous session
  • Introduction to the topic and the new skills
  • A summary of the new skills to be practiced during the week, which you are welcome to try. 

What if I would like to attend the sessions but I find groups difficult?

Many autistic students find it challenging to work in groups and it is something that you can talk about with the wellbeing practitioner. Students attending this group have told us that connecting with other students who understand their experiences has helped them to feel supported and has helped build their confidence.

For more information about this group, look at the tab above.

If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

These two workshops have already run. Please check back next semester for new dates and times for 'Managing Exam Stress'.

Worried about coping with your exams? Beginning to feel stressed at the thought of exam preparation? Wanting to have strategies to help you to plan and not panic? Then this virtual workshop is for you.

Exam stress can block our effectiveness in working towards exams and lower our performance once inside the exam hall. This workshop will help you to understand your anxiety about exams and to build your confidence so you feel less stressed on the day. Introducing approaches such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and mindfulness, this session will demonstrate effective techniques for managing the
anxiety that exams create and help you find a more productive approach to exams.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Improve motivation and focus
  • Challenge critical thoughts and worrying
  • Prioritise and time manage
  • Self-care whilst stressed

This virtual workshop will be run twice this semester and will be facilitated on zoom. You only need to sign up to one.



This virtual workshop is being offered twice on zoom.

**Please note that students need to be registered with a Portsmouth GP to access these two workshops**

If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

These workshops have already run. Please check back next semester for new dates and times for 'Shake it Out!'


A space to move, to shake out unwanted thoughts and feelings, and restore balance.

"The fastest way to still the mind is to move the body" Gabrielle Roth. 

These in-person weekly workshops are a fun way for you to move to a wave of music, to let go of stress, anxiety and unhelpful thoughts. There are no dance steps to learn, just let your body naturally move in response to an energetic wave of great music which starts quietly, then builds in energy and volume before slowly coming into stillness. The music will guide you through the phases of sensing, grounding, expressing, releasing, connecting, and completing. 

Come and enjoy the relaxed and friendly environment. No expectations and no judgement. To ensure this remains a safe space, we ask that you do not use your phone during the session. 


  • Thursday 19 and 26 January 2023 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm, Room 1
  • Thursday 2, 9, 16 February 2023 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm, Room 1
  • Thursday 2, 9, 16 March 2023 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm, Room 1
  • Thursday 23 March 2023 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm, Room 4 


Students' Union - First floor (accessible by elevator)
Cambridge Road

What if I don't like the music?

No problem, you can move in a way that expresses your dislike! 

What if I'm tired?

Then come and rest, many people begin by lying down and some stay there!

What if I can't dance?

This isn't about being able to dance, it's about moving authentically. And not all movements can be seen - some are tiny. 

Do I need to bring anything?

Bring water, and make sure you're wearing something you can move in. Shoes are optional (the floor is carpeted). Bring your friends (UoP students only)!

"Dancing has healed many places for me that words couldn't reach" - These workshops are facilitated by Janine Kane (Counsellor and Movement Facilitator).

You can drop in or sign up here. For more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our practitioner will contact you.

TransMission is a supportive and relaxed space for transgender, non-binary, gender questioning and gender variant students to socialise together, make new friends and network. This group runs in-person.


  • Second Wednesday of the month (term-time only)

Please register your interest here and we will email you with dates, times, and the venue. If you would like more information or to have an informal chat about this group, email and our admin team will connect you with the practitioner running this group.

The surprising way that our minds work and how we can work with them, not against.

This is now an online Moodle resource for you to work through at a time that suits you. This Moodle resource offers an introduction to the concepts of the Compassionate Mind model. Armed with this understanding you will be able to benefit from its application in many areas of your life like building positive relationships (with others as well as yourself), increasing emotional resilience, and feeling more optimistic.

In this Moodle resource you will learn:

  • The 3-Systems Compassionate Mind model and how it can help make sense of your inner life
  • How developing compassion for yourself and others will improve relationships
  • Breathing exercises and visualisation techniques to help you manage your mind and be your best you
  • To develop your own compassionate mind toolkit
  • The benefits of taking part in the online compassionate mind training sessions

If you live with mental health problems or support someone who does, you can attend free courses and short sessions run by our Student Wellbeing Service in collaboration with the Solent Recovery College.

On these courses, you'll learn practical skills for living with ongoing symptoms in a safe and confidential space, and work with mental health professionals from Solent Mind's Peer Trainers and staff from Solent NHS Trust.

Courses run with the Recovery College might include:

  • Skills for life at university
  • Understanding and living with anxiety
  • Understanding and living with depression
  • Understanding and living with personality disorder
  • Supporting someone else's recovery
  • Living with bipolar
  • Understanding and developing mindfulness
  • Understanding mind and body: making a change
  • Coping in a crisis
  • Exam stress
  • Writing your recovery narrative

Wellbeing Cafe

Wellbeing Café is a weekly opportunity to connect with others and take time out to focus on fun and relaxing wellbeing activities. At this meet-up, you can chat to other students and our Wellbeing Service Practitioners.

You can take part in activities developed by and for students who attend the Wellbeing Cafe such as games, crafts and mindfulness. Activities can also include practical support, such as budgeting advice to reduce the stress of managing money. Guest speakers lead discussions on wellbeing topics and run supportive, fun activities.

Feel Good Fest

Each year, we run Feel Good Fest to inspire you to take care of your wellbeing. You can join other students, staff, local artists and organisations at this free event packed with activities to promote personal wellbeing.

Activities at Feel Good Fest include:

  • Free food tasting
  • Performances and entertainment from societies
  • Craft workshops
  • 'Get Active' sports and recreation taster sessions
  • Giveaways and raffle prizes
Staff and students smiling at the University Feel Good Festival

Multi-faith chaplaincy

If you're looking for a quiet space to reflect or pray, guidance from our chaplains or somewhere to have lunch with friends, you can use our multi-faith Chaplaincy.

You can use the Chaplaincy facilities, including a multi-faith quiet room and Islamic prayer rooms, or speak to our chaplains who will:

  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Encourage you to develop and grow
  • Support you for as long as it takes

As well as support for health and wellbeing, you can get support from our chaplains for faith issues, domestic abuse, pregnancy, refugee status, marriage advice, financial problems, substance abuse and academic concerns.

Students' Union Advice Service

You can also get confidential, impartial and non-judgemental support on academic and University issues from the Students' Union Advice Service. They can support you in academic appeals, extenuating circumstances and complaints.

As part of the Students' Union, this service is run independently from the University, but works closely with us to help resolve issues and make sure all students are treated fairly.

Online resources for wellbeing support

What'sUp? app

You can use this mobile app free of charge to chat to staff from the Student Wellbeing Service during office hours. Any messages sent out of hours will be replied to the next working day.

As one of our students, you can download the WhatsUp? app from your phone's app store and use your University of Portsmouth student ID to log in instantly. Once your ID is validated, you can use the app anonymously.

You can also use the app:

  • To rate your mood
  • As a personal journal
  • For inspirational notifications
  • To raise a concern for someone else
  • To ask a question
  • To find wellbeing contacts


You can sign up for online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses for free. These courses are run through SilverCloud and have shown high improvement rates for people living with depression, anxiety and stress.

You'll learn useful self-management skills using research-led CBT methods in your own time and at your own pace. You can sign up for any or all of the following courses:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood/depression
  • Body image issues

Supporting your physical health

If you live in Portsmouth while studying with us, you can register as a patient as the nearest doctor's surgery for NHS advice and support. You can often book appointments, request repeat prescriptions and view your GP record and tests results online.

You can also keep fit by getting a student membership to our University sports facilities from as little as £15 per month. Your membership gives you access to our gym with 4 floors of equipment, 50+ classes every week and racket sports bookings.

Other ways we support you