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Mental health and wellbeing support

Students’ mental health and wellbeing is a priority at The Open University, and a range of support is on offer throughout your studies. 

Student Mental Health Agreement certificate image. Resources and help in an emergency

Information about mental health support can be found on our help page, including text message and online support.

Clear Your Head, Think Positive and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) have further resources on mental health and wellbeing.

In an emergency, call 999, or contact your GP or the Samaritans

Support and resources for studies

Discover the help that’s available: this could include options from your Student Support Team and Tutors such as creating more manageable study timetables and taking rest breaks during exams. You can access guided self-help resources, and the OU Students Association also runs a confidential Peer Support Service.

If you feel that you need some extra support to manage your thoughts, feelings and mental health, we can help. Lifelink offers video and phone counselling for students living in Scotland. Lifelink have over 30 years’ experience in supporting people to make positive changes in their lives – helping them realise their own abilities to cope with stress and develop ways of overcoming anxiety and depression. Everyone can struggle with their mental health from time to time, but you don’t need to struggle alone.

If you would like to find out more about Lifelink, please contact an Educational Advisors in your Student Support Team. You don’t need to provide any details about why you’re looking for counselling, however the Educational Advisors will be able to let you know how to access this service and answer any questions you have.

We also offer study skills materials.

Tell us about your mental health

At the OU we support over 10,000 students who have told us they have a mental health difficulty. You can let us know at any time, but early contact is recommended so we can make reasonable adjustments and support you to reach your full potential. You may qualify for mental health mentoring support – find out more

Our commitment to your mental health

In our Student Mental Health Agreement 2021-23 (.pdf - summary version) we set out with our partners the OU Students Association our commitment to promoting the mental wellbeing of all students.

This is supported by the National Union of Students Scotland’s Think Positive Project. They awarded us with a certificate for successfully developing our Student Mental Health Agreement work for 2022-23. 

A full version of the Agreement can be accessed here (.pdf)

Our Scotland Agreement reflects the wider OU’s Student and Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2023. This Strategy was developed in line with Universities UK’s Stepchange framework for mental health in higher education.

Activities in Scotland

Examples of our activities with/for students include:

  • Holding Big Blether engagement sessions with the OU Students Association and OU staff, with support from the National Union of Students Scotland’s Think Positive Project.
  • Carers’ Bursary and Care Experienced Bursary for help with study-related costs. 
  • Supporting the Thriving Learners Survey, run by the Mental Health Foundation for Universities Scotland.