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Durham University

Counselling Service

Mental health support at Durham

The following information about mental health services at Durham may be useful to you:


We ask students to register with a Durham GP. The GP not only prescribes and continues medication but is also the gateway into local NHS mental health services, for example, specialist assessment. Students are encouraged to start registration with a medical practice in Durham before arrival; information will be provided nearer to the time as to the process for submitting a NHS Family Doctor Services Registration Form (GMS1) to a local GP. If you cannot register in advance, then opportunities for registration are available on campus and at medical practices after arrival.

Most students opt for the University Health Centre. This GP practice is very experienced in dealing with student mental health difficulty at all levels and has good links with the University; it is also based centrally in the city.

If you are a prospective student currently under CAMHS or adult mental health services, and need a transfer into Durham’s NHS adult mental health services, we would advise you to discuss your ongoing treatment and support needs with your care coordinator. They can contact the Durham City Access Service on 0191 594 5800 to discuss possible transfer; if this is not agreed, you need to see your Durham GP to discuss this as soon as you have registered here. It is very helpful to bring with you any letters or summaries about your mental health history/treatment; these can be very useful for a GP making referrals.

If you need NHS psychological therapies in Durham, Talking Changes is a free self-help and talking therapies service which Durham University students can access as long as they are registered with a GP in the County Durham and Darlington area. The service is designed to help people to deal with common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety or depression, as well as panic, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Click here to self-refer to Talking Changes online or telephone: 0191 333 3300. Waiting lists can be long, so we encourage students to do this as soon as they have registered with a Durham GP.

If you are currently receiving therapy or counselling, we suggest you discuss with your current therapist what ongoing psychological therapy may be recommended.

Mental Health Advisors

The university’s Mental Health Advice Team help students access NHS services and liaise with academic departments and colleges where students are experiencing difficulty. If you have any queries about accessing mental health support, or transferring existing treatment on arrival at Durham, please email the MHAs on

Restrictive eating disorders

Durham University follows national guidelines on thresholds for safe study where a student has an eating disorder; please see the university Guidance on Restrictive Eating Disorders outlining our position. We encourage any student with a BMI below 17 to discuss the safety of starting university with their care provider, as national guidelines recommend taking a break from study until a healthy BMI has been sustained for a longer period. We appreciate it can be very disruptive and distressing for students to start at Durham and rapidly be required to pause their studies; therefore please do contact the Mental Health Advice Team if you have any concerns or questions about the Guidance.

If you need specialist eating disorder assessment or support after moving to Durham, your GP or current ED Team can discuss this with our local NHS eating disorder service.

Disability Support

Our Disability Support Service offers advice and guidance to students on disability-related support needs, registering a disability, and making adjustments around your studies as needed. To evidence a disability you will need to provide medical evidence of any diagnosed conditions from a doctor or clinical psychologist; this can take the form of copies of medical summaries or previous letters. Information on medical evidence can be found at here. If you wish to ask a question or request an appointment with a Disability Adviser click here.

You can register with Disability Support at any time; there is no deadline for submission of medical evidence, but submitting as soon as possible allows us to put support and adjustments in place for your arrival.

Counselling Team

The University does not provide mental health treatment but Counselling is available to all students, offering up to six free sessions per academic year. We also have Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners who offer advice and self-help information for managing wellbeing.

Private Treatment

Some students opt to find a private therapist locally; others choose to continue with existing therapy via Skype while they are in Durham, and have some face-to-face sessions in vacations. This can be beneficial for continuity but is problematic if the student needs support in Durham as most services will not duplicate if they are already receiving treatment elsewhere.

We do not recommend individual therapists, but if you are looking for a private therapist, you may consider the links below:


You will have access to the welfare and support staff at your College throughout your time at the University for pastoral support, whether you live in College or out. We suggest you inform your College of your mental health difficulties, either proactively, or on any form they ask you to complete in due course so that they can best support you.

Kate Augarde - Senior MHA

Laura Percival

Steve Wood

Katie London

Yasmin Bainbridge (Staff & Student Training)