University Counselling Service

The University Counselling Service is just a two-minute walk from Downing College. The counsellors there help many students who present with a wide variety of problems including (but not limited to):

  • issues related to work
  • identity issues
  • personal and relationship problems.

Access to the University Counselling Service is by self-referral, through the completion of an online form. This enables students to be placed with an appropriate counsellor as quickly as possible.

Students with serious or enduring mental health problems can be referred to the University Mental Health Adviser by College or University staff.

Mindfulness is taught free of charge both at the University and at Downing. Please see the College Nurse, for details.

The First Response Service provides 24-hour access, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to mental health care, advice and support. If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can now dial 111 and select option 2. First Response leaflet.

The CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service is part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. It is designed to make psychological or talking therapies more accessible to people experiencing common mental health problems. Self-refer online here.

How do I make an appointment?

Many people sort out problems by talking to friends, family or staff in their College or Department.  Sometimes looking up information about things that are concerning you may be helpful and UCS has a large selection of self-help information on their website.  However, there are times when this is not enough and you may wish to speak to the College-Based Counsellor in a private setting in your College.

College-Based Counselling is available on Mondays (CBT) and Tuesdays (counselling) during Full Term between 9am and 5pm. Please be sure to indicate that you are a member of Downing when you apply for counselling.

Please note, that during peak times, your application will be acknowledged and your details may be placed on a waiting list until a suitable appointment becomes available. 

For more information please go to: College-Based Counselling at Downing on the University of Cambridge website.

Further Support

Nightline (previously Linkline) is a helpline run for students during full term between 7.00pm and 8.00am on 01223 367575.

Cameo is a group of mental health professionals who provide specialised care and support to people aged 17 - 65 experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Arts on Prescription is a series of friendly, weekly art workshops for people experiencing depression, stress or anxiety in Cambridge.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists produces online leaflets, containing useful and informative advice about a range of mental health problems.

Mind is a mental health information service for England and Wales. They provide information, support and understanding to help create a better life for those who experience mental distress. They have a huge number of resources covering both common and less common issues.

The Samaritans offer confidential, non-judgmental emotional support, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Those experiencing feelings of distress or despair can access their services via their website or on 01223 364455.

Papyrus offers support to young people at risk of suicide, their parents and anyone concerned about a young person they know.

Students with eating disorders can contact Beat, the Eating Disorders Association, either via the Beat website or by email. Their helpline number is 0845 634 1414.

CUSU have also arranged support and social groups to run through the year from 4.30-6pm on Wednesdays in the CUSU Conference Room.

The Mix offers support and advice for those who self-harm.

Blurt exists to make a difference to anyone affected by depression, by providing support and increasing awareness / understanding.

The National Self Harm Network supports individuals who self-harm to reduce emotional distress and to improve their quality of life, as well as providing information for families and carers of individuals who self-harm.

Embarrassing Problems is the website for all those questions you wanted to ask, but never quite got round to.

Kooth: free, confidential counselling service, providing mental health self-help information and support online for people aged between 11 and 19.

Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines can offer expert advice about a wide range of mental health issues.