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Counselling Service

Mental Health Advice

Mental Health Crisis

Mental health problems need not be a barrier to your successful engagement with your studies and with University life. The majority of students with mental health difficulties are able to navigate their University careers successfully through a combination of self-care, pastoral support in Colleges, adjustments within their Academic Departments, specialist support services and the support offered by external services.

The Mental Health Advisors are registered mental health nurses based in the Counselling Service.

In the context of Durham University we are not able to provide treatment but offer advice and guidance to students with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health difficulties which are:

  • Complex
  • Enduring
  • And/or cause concern around risk to the student or others

You may be offered an appointment with a Mental Health Adviser if we believe you will benefit from Mental Health Advice, including supporting you to access local NHS services, information on mental health conditions, or if you need a specific Mental Health Assessment. Mental Health Assessment is a requirement for courses with particular professional practice elements, and may be requested for University off-site activities and Fitness to Study processes.

If your difficulties constitute a disability, we will support you to to draw up a mental health support plan to ensure appropriate pastoral, academic and medical support is in place for you. We will also ask you to register with our Disability Support Service to set up reasonable adjustments with your academic Department.

If you think you need to see a Mental Health Advisor, you initially need to refer yourself to Counselling and indicate that you wish to see a Mental Health Adviser.

The University is fully-committed to supporting all students, including those with mental health difficulties. For details see the Mental Health Policy and also the Fitness to Study Policy.

Summary leaflets about the Policies are available in Colleges, The Student's Union and the Counselling Service.


When a Mental Health Advisor provides support and advice in their Mental Health Advisory role the data will be held confidentially, unless there is a risk to you or another person, in accordance with the Counselling Service Confidentiality Policy available on our website. Confidentiality will be breached if a member of the counselling staff believes someone is in clear and present danger or where we are compelled by law. We have particular responsibilities under our Safeguarding Policies if there are concerns about the safety of a child or vulnerable adult.

In these situations, it is our Policy to try to secure consent from you prior to breaking confidentiality, and at a minimum we will always inform you if we are breaking confidentiality, detailing to whom and exactly what personal data needed to be shared.

When a Mental Health Advisor is conducting an Assessment, it will be at the request of another part of the University and fulfils an important function for the safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff. The outcome of an Assessment will need to be communicated to third parties, but it will not be necessary to share the full detail of the Assessment. You will be informed of the scope of the communication to third parties and you will be copied into all correspondence. You will be asked for your written consent using our Mental Health Assessment Agreement Form. If issues of risk arise during an Assessment process, the Mental Health Advisor may need to break confidentiality and will follow the Counselling Service Confidentiality Policy as above.

We encourage students with complex and enduring mental health difficulties to consent to sharing between involved parties within and outside the University, to ensure safe and comprehensive support-planning.

Better Mental Health Workshop:

Do you have a mental health diagnosis? If so, this 90 minute workshop offers advice on managing your condition and staying well at Durham. The workshop will cover symptom and medication-management and you will have the chance to draw up your own Wellness Action Plan during the session. This is not a therapy session, but for support and information. You will not be required to share any personal information unless you wish to do so. Information on next dates and booking can be found at our Groups and Workshops Section