University can be difficult. Moving out, meeting new people, relationships, workload, and many more things might cause you to feel stressed or worried. Being LGBT+ can mean you may be more likely to experience some specific mental health stressors. Coming out, or being out, can be difficult if the people around you are unsupportive or uneducated. In some cases people not understanding or accepting your romantic, sexual or gender identity can be damaging to your mental health. The most important thing when meeting new people is to do whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you want to be open and ‘out’ with every part of your identity that is your choice. Equally, if you don’t feel comfortable being as open with everyone that is okay and should be respected by others.
If you experience mental health problems whilst at university there are many different places you can go to for support. These include:
- LGBT+a Welfare
- College Student Welfare Officers
- College Support Staff (e.g. vice principal, senior tutors, pastoral care, chaplains)
- University Counselling Service
- Academic Advisors or Department Staff
- NHS mental health services
For more information about the services your college provides look online or ask. In freshers you will probably receive information about who your college officers or staff related to welfare are, or be able to find information in your JCR.
Tel: 0191 334 2200
Tel: 0191 334 0039
Durham University has its own counselling service that is open to any student. The counselling service can help you by giving you someone to meet with on a regular basis, to manage stressors and talk through problems. They may also be able to help refer you to other services if you need it.
The service is open Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00, and in the evenings when needed Mondays and Tuesday. To make an appointment just call, send an email, or turn up and inquire.
Nightline is a confidential listening service run by students, available between 21:00-7:00 in term time. You can also chat to them online. They are primarily there to listen if you want to talk anonymously to someone who doesn’t know you. They can also call you an ambulance if you request and give them consent. Their number is on your campus card and on DUO.
For more information go to http://community.dur.ac.uk/nightline/
As with anywhere, your GP can be a good place to go if you are struggling with mental health. They can offer your support directly, or help you to access other services through referrals if they feel you need it.
It’s important to make an appointment with your new student GP when you first come to Durham if you have been accessing mental health services at home. They should be transferred your previous notes so they are up to date, and can help you transition between services you were accessing at home and services you can access in Durham. A care co-ordinator or a community psychiatric nurse may also do this if services you were accessing at home have transferred you to Durham NHS services.