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Stress, depression and anxiety

Stress, depression and anxiety are becoming more common as our lives get busier and responsibilities increase. Take time to improve your mental health with these resources.

Whatever your age or circumstances, studying at university can be a great opportunity with many exciting challenges, but it can also bring pressures such as managing deadlines, preparing for exams, living in shared accommodation and working in groups. Sometimes, we feel like we cannot cope.

Tips for looking after your mental health

Watch this short film for advice from Mental Health Nursing students on how to look after your wellbeing.


Stress is a normal response to a situation or event that causes you to feel threatened or overwhelmed. Stress can affect how you feel, how you think, how you behave and how your body works. Stress is often a trigger of anxiety and subsequent depression.  

Find out about the various symptoms and causes of stress. Stress isn’t actually an illness, but if the symptoms aren’t recognised and addressed stress can turn into a more serious illness.

Preventing stress isn’t easy, but there are many things you can do to help manage and treat it. You may find the resources the NHS provides on stress helpful, as it contains information about managing stress and stress treatments. There is also information about using exercise to relieve stress.

Take a simple stress test to see how stressed you really are, and learn some relaxation techniques to help relieve the symptoms of stress.


Depression is when you feel very low and sad persistently for weeks at a time, not just a few days. You can lose interest in things that you usually love, feeling hopeless, tearful, constantly tired, with loss of appetite and sex drive, and trouble sleeping.

Depression is not uncommon and, according to recent research, up to ten per cent of the population of Britain could be suffering from depression at any one time. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, which is why it is really important to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression in yourself and those around you so you can get help quickly.

You can take the depression self-assessment test to see whether you could be suffering from depression.

If you have symptoms of depression, there is a lot that can be done to help combat them. For example, the following can all help:

Mind, the charity for mental health, also offer more information about ways of coping with depression, the different forms the illness can take and the treatments available.

It's also beneficial to hear about others' experiences of depression, as it's highly likely someone else has gone through a similar experience to you. It's an opportunity to find out how they coped with depression and what they found helpful or unhelpful. You can find these stories and other information about getting further help and support from the Students Against Depression website.


Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of unease or apprehension. Most people experience anxiety from time to time, but often these feelings can persist and can prevent people from doing the things they want to do, making their lives miserable.

Usually, the anxiety and the feeling of being under pressure can be managed because you know that the situation is only temporary and can identify what is causing those feelings. For example, if you have a deadline coming up, you know that once the deadline is over the feelings will pass.

Sometimes, however, these feelings will be experienced a lot without knowing what is causing them, or when they might end. This is much harder to cope with, and will usually require some help from a support service. Remember, it is always better to seek help than to keep quiet and bottle things up.

Anxiety has many different psychological and physical symptoms. You can find more information about anxiety from the NHS website, which provides information on the symptoms of anxiety, likely causes and the treatment available.

SAM – a self-help anxiety app

SAM is an application developed at UWE Bristol to help you understand, monitor and manage your anxiety in a range of situations.

The app will allow you to:

  • monitor your anxiety levels and visualise your anxiety profile over time
  • discover and apply self-help techniques including multimedia and mini-games
  • share anonymous advice and ratings with the user community (the "social cloud").

SAM is free to download to your Android or iPhone.

Getting support and advice

If you feel you are affected by stress, depression or anxiety, the University Wellbeing Service offers a comprehensive array of services to help and support you with these issues.

You may also find the healthy lifestyle quiz helpful.

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