What is mental health and what is wellbeing? 

The World Health Organisation (2014) defines mental health as ‘a unified state of mental, physical and social well-being, where a person can achieve their potential, is able to effectively contribute to the community, and can handle the stresses of normal life’. 

Enjoying good mental health and wellbeing helps us to deal with the stresses of everyday life. However 1 in 4 people is affected by a mental health problem in any year. Finding out more about some of the mental health problems people might face could help you to feel more confident when trying to support someone. 

Mental Health Problems 
Mental health problems affect around one in four people. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things that others might not think about a bit more difficult. 

We believe that all students and staff at the University should be able to talk freely about their mental health. Much like physical health, we all have it, and need to look after it to stay fit and well. 

There is a variety of mental health problems that a person can experience. The Time to Talk website provides further details on a number of issues. 

The World Health Organisation’s definition of mental health moves beyond simply the absence of mental illness, but includes the presence of emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. People who enjoy high levels of wellbeing are described as flourishing. In this context, flourishing means that the person enjoys feelings of happiness, contentment and curiosity and is able to engage fully with what is going on around them. Flourishing also means functioning well in the world; the person experiences positive relationships, has some control over their life, and has a sense of purpose. 

The Mental Capital and Wellbeing project identified the drivers to wellbeing, and the New Economics Foundation (NEF) named the Five Ways to Wellbeing to communicate these: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. 

Find out more:
  • Time to Change is a growing movement that exists to transform how we all think and act about mental health problems. 
  • Rethink Mental illness provides further information on the types of mental health problems people might face. 

Are you worried about your own or someone else’s mental health or wellbeing? 

There may be a number of reasons which cause you to become concerned about a student, friend, colleague's or your own mental health and wellbeing. They might be acting differently, seem low, worried or stressed, or you might be concerned about their general wellbeing. 

  • Are they in immediate danger? If you think someone is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or someone else call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you are on campus, also call security on 01603 592222. Tell Security an ambulance is on the way and give details of your location. Stay with the person and reassure them help is on the way. 
  • High Risk Warning Signs. The NHS provides details on some of the warning signs for suicide and self harm. 
  • Stigma and mental health: Time to Change. The way you think and act towards yourself or someone else with a mental illness can change your or their life; by opening up to mental health you can make a real difference. Find out more on the Time to Change website. 
  • Listen.  Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them. 
  • Tell the person you are concerned. If they are not at immediate risk, encourage them to get support and consider helping them to make the initial contact. 
  • Student Services Wellbeing Advisers. An adviser can talk through what support is available in confidence. 
  • Time to Talk. Too many people can be left in situations where they feel isolated, ashamed and worthless.  Time to Change is a movement that seeks to challenge this. They believe by joining together, we can make sure that more people are open to talking and listening about mental health problems than ever before. 
Tell Someone 
If you are concerned about your mental health or wellbeing there is help and support available. This can be difficult for some people, but can it can start the process to getting support. 
  • The University's Student Services Wellbeing Service. If they are not in immediate danger but you are still worried about them, contact the Wellbeing Service for advice. 
  • Your GP Doctor. Your GP can help you with referrals to NHS and other external agencies as well and give medical advice and help.  
  • UEA’s Staff Counselling. Staff at UEA have access to free confidential counselling with through the UEA Staff Counselling Service. 
Get Support 
If you are concerned about someone's mental health or wellbeing there is a variety of support options available to both students and staff.  

For students 
  • Your School. If you are a student you can talk to your academic adviser. 
  • Student Services. This University service offers support and advice on issues affecting your student life, with signposting and referral to more specialist services. If you're not sure where to go, this is a good place to start. 
  • Talking Therapies. The Talking Therapies Service, as part of Student Services, offers Single Session Therapy which means you can access online therapeutic support when you need it. Single Session Therapiy is about helping you to find possible solutions and positive outcomes to support you in overcoming a pressing concern that is negatively impacting your wellbeing or getting in the way of the life you would like to lead.
  • uea(su) Advice Service. This is a free confidential, impartial service where students can get advice and information on academic and personal issues, including advice on university procedures and representation at hearings. 
  • Nightline is a confidential listening and information service run for students by students. Call: 01603 597158. Lines are open 8pm – 8am during term time. 
  • Extenuating Circumstances. If you feel your studies have been affected by what has happened you can consider applying for extenuating circumstances. 
For staff 
  • Staff Counselling Service. The University’s team of professional counsellors offer confidential support to all staff. 
  • Human Resources.  If you are a member of staff your HR Adviser will be able to identify the support that’s available for you. 
  • Employee Assistance Programme. This free confidential 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service is an UEA employee benefit available. Confidential support independent from UEA, with professional consultation, counselling, information, resources and referrals to services in your local area. 
  • Equality and Diversity at UEA. They work across the campus on equality matters for both staff and students and have a number of resources and links to support available. 
  • Staff Network Groups. The University has a number of staff network groups. They are a fantastic way to network with people from all over the University, build contacts, share experiences, arrange events and socialise.  Many of the groups also offer confidential support and advisory services from their members to any member of staff. 
  • Trade Unions. There are three trade unions that represent staff at the University Unison, Unite and UCU. 
Other sources of support 
  • Self Help Online Resources provided by Student Services. 
  • Suggested Self Help Books provided by Student Services. 
  • Samaritans are available to talk about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue. You don't have to be suicidal. Call: 116 123. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 
  • Anxiety UK offers support, advice and information on a range of anxiety and anxiety based depression conditions. Call: 08444 775 774. Lines are open Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm. 
Alcohol and drugs 
  • Phoenix Futures offers information and help to anyone experiencing problems with drugs, alcohol, solvents, tranquilisers or gambling. Tel: 020 7234 9778.
  • The Matthew Project offers free confidential advice for drug and alcohol problems. Helpline for over 18s: 0300 7900 227.
Asperger Syndrome 
  • Asperger East Anglia is a local charity offering information and support for people with Asperger Syndrome and their families. Tel: 01063 620 500.
Eating Disorders 
  • Eating Matters is a Norfolk charity for people who have problems with eating. They offer groups and 1:1 counselling. Helpline: 01603 767062.
  • B-eat is a national charity based in Norwich which provide support and advice for people with eating disorders and carers. Helpline: 0845 634 1414 
  • The Norwich and Norfolk OCD Support Group offers help and structured group sessions for persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Tel: 01603 619 246 or text: 07432 655 579
Pregnancy Help 
  • Pregnancy Choices provides support for unplanned pregnancy or loss. Helpline: 0845 2300 123. 
  • Time Norfolk offers inclusive support across Norfolk to anyone who has been affected by pregnancy loss. Tel: 01603 927 487
Sexual Health and Contraception 
  • iCaSH - sexual health and contraception in Norwich (formerly family planning) provides a range of free and confidential services including all methods of contraception, counselling about unwanted pregnancy, counselling about sexual problems. Tel: 01603 287 345
  • The Grove Genito-Urinary Medicine Clinic provides free, expert and confidential advice and treatment for all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Tel: 01603 286 307


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