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Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

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HOPELINEUK is a specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to;

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Help & Advice

Freshers Week and Starting University

The end of summer can mark the beginning of a new chapter for those starting University. This change can trigger a whole range of different emotions. While many new students may be excited and hold hopeful expectations for the year ahead, others may feel anxious and uncertain, even fearful, about the future. For some students these changes can feel overwhelming and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. 

If you’re starting University, perhaps you are moving away from home for the first time to a new town or city. You may be taking on a variety of new responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and managing your own money. This new found sense of freedom can be both exciting and concerning. ‘What if I don’t make any friends?’ ‘I don’t want to leave my friends and family’ ‘What if I don’t do well on my course?’ ‘I don’t want to move away from home’ ‘I won’t know anyone.’ These are common concerns and it’s completely okay to feel this way.

Opening up to others and sharing these thoughts and feelings can feel challenging. At PAPYRUS we want you to know that it’s okay to talk and there are things you can do to help make starting university more manageable.

Here are some ‘top tips’ for how to look after your well-being when starting university

  • Get organised. Preparation can be really effective in reducing stress. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your move and get familiar with your surroundings. Write your lectures, deadlines and activities in a diary or planner to keep on top on things.
  • Get in touch. It’s natural to feel homesick at first. Make the most of social media by connecting with family and friends. Often a phone call, video chat or message can provide some comfort when you’re missing home.
  • Get balanced. Try and limit the amount of pressure you put on yourself.For example, allow yourself time to settle in before looking for part-time work. Try not to compare yourself to the other students on your course and avoid criticising your own abilities. Take regular breaks and reflect on your progress.
  • Get rested. When we think of university we often think of late nights, social events and plenty of partying. While we urge you to have fun, it’s also important for your wellbeing that you remember to rest. Look after your body and mind and make time for yourself.
  • Get registered. Unfortunately, many students do not register with a new GP when they move away to university. In most cases, you must be registered with a GP in order to access mental health services. Therefore, it’s important to sign up and ensure that the support you deserve is available should you need it.
  • Get support. If you are finding things difficult, reach out to those around you. Whether it’s family, friends, your tutors or student support services, let someone know you are struggling. If you are a young person who is experiencing thoughts of suicide you can call, text or email HOPELineUK in confidence.

Help, support and advice

Today, Universities are well prepared to support new (and returning) students, and have specialist staff and students who can give advice and support around different areas. If you’re unsure how to make contact with them, go on your University website and search for ‘Student Support’, ‘Student Union’, ‘Student Advice’ or ‘Student Welfare’.

The Student Room offer advice, support and information about going to university. 

The National Union of Students is a large UK wide organisation that is run by and for students aged 16 upwards who are in post-high school education. They offer advice and information on a range of student issues.

You can also find more information and advice from Student Minds – the Student Mental Health Charity.


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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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There are many reasons why people join us - for example, they may have been bereaved or affected by suicide in some way, have a professional interest in the area, or want to share their story and raise awareness.
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