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Taking care of yourself

It is important to remember that people care and will want to help.

Life's journey can bring unexpected challenges, and coping can be tough. No matter what hurdles come your way during your university experience, there are a number of ways to access support, guidance, self-help resources or speak to a trained professional. 

This page will help you find out how to get help if you are feeling suicidal, how to understand the behaviour changes you may be showing and explore the 5 ways to Wellbeing and how to access resources and guidance.


What to do if you’re having suicidal thoughts

If you feel at risk of taking your own life

If you feel you’re at immediate risk of harming yourself (for example, you've made a plan and you are worried that you may act on it soon), then this is a crisis and you should go directly to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of the local hospital to get urgent help. Call 999 to request an ambulance if you are unable to go to the hospital yourself.

UoP’s nearest A&E department is:

  • Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA), Southwick Hill Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3LY

Please see the Student Wellbeing Service ‘Support in a Crisis’ webpages - here they have information, guidance and points of contact for getting support when you’re in a crisis.

Talking to someone

If you are feeling suicidal, the most important thing is to talk to someone.

Thoughts of suicide are common. Many adults will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. The feelings that drive suicide are often temporary and situation-specific, for instance, a stressful event associated with feelings of loss can trigger suicidal thoughts.

If you are going through a difficult period, you may feel isolated and disconnected from your personal support networks. You may also worry about the reaction and impact on those close to you if you share thoughts of suicide. It may feel awkward to start a conversation and there isn’t a right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings.

Starting the conversation is what’s important.

You may want to talk to a trusted family member, a friend, a colleague, a staff member in your school/faculty or hall of residence, the University’s Student Wellbeing Service, your GP, the University’s Chaplaincy Service, or an external organisation dedicated to supporting people experiencing suicidal feelings.

It is important to remember that people care and will want to help.

Look after yourself

There are a number of ways you can look after yourself if you are feeling suicidal. 

  1. Firstly, you can save emergency phone numbers and what to do when you are feeling suicidal in a safety plan. Use this safety plan worksheet from Students Against Depression to develop the safety plan.
  2. Secondly, make an appointment with the Student Wellbeing Service to discuss how you feel with a member of the team. The Student Wellbeing Service can help think through the safety plan and build strategies for keeping safe. 
  3. Additionally, contact the NHS Solent mental health team by dialling 111 on your phone. 

Generally, if you recognise you are feeling suicidal try to be around friends or family if you can. If this is not possible, aim to get to a safe place and call them. You may also choose to call a helpline, such as some of the services listed below, for support. Most of these are available out of hours, so can be accessed when you need them. Try to not consume drugs or alcohol - these can have a substantial negative effect on mental health and wellbeing.


Eat, Sleep, Play, Repeat

It’s really important to look after yourself both when things are going well, as well as when they’re not going to plan. Do things you enjoy, such as listening to music, exercising going to training, or watching a favourite TV show in order to distract yourself and take your mind off your thoughts. 

Sleep plays a massive part in an overall healthy lifestyle and has been shown to help reduce stress. During sleep, we can process information, consolidate memories, and undergo a number of maintenance processes that help us to function during the daytime. 

In the same way that sleep can help to improve our mental health, so can a healthy diet and exercise. Eating well, getting regular exercise, and making sure to clock in enough high-quality sleep each night can help boost psychological well-being and reduce the risk of conditions like depression and anxiety.

If you need support in eating well and getting regular exercise - our Health and Fitness instructors are happy to help.


When we aren’t feeling our usual selves, we may notice changes in our behaviour including:

  •  Feeling more withdrawn than usual
  •  Distancing ourselves from training sessions
  •  Crying a lot or being more emotional than usual
  •  Feeling as though our performance within sport or academic work has gone downhill lately
  •  Noticing significant changes in our eating habits, e.g. eating more or less than usual
  • Feeling like we aren’t able to take care of ourselves recently
  • Feeling tired or distracted when training
  • Noticing a change in how we speak (rapidly, incoherently or slowly)     

Who can I speak to and find out what support is available to me? 

All of our Team UOP student sports clubs have a committee that works alongside the University’s Department of Sport and Recreation, to deliver all club activities. 


If you’d like to speak to the welfare contacts within your club you can speak with the following people:

  • Welfare Sec 
  • Vice President
  • Team Captain
  • Social Sec

If you are unsure of who any of these people are within your club, you can contact and we can pass your details on to the relevant committee positions within your club.


If you’d like to contact University of Portsmouth welfare contacts, here are some different options:

  • Sport and Recreation - Team UoP sports clubs welfare staff lead can give advice, signpost and support Team UoP club members to access professional services such as the Student Wellbeing Service
  • Student Wellbeing Service - The University’s professional wellbeing service is a hub for advice and support for your emotional wellbeing and mental health. Students can get free, confidential help for a wide range of personal, emotional and mental health concerns
  • Chaplaincy - The University’s Chaplains are available to all students for a confidential chat, somewhere to have lunch with friends, or just some quiet space
  • Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) - The University's ASDAC supports students and applicants who share a disability or require additional support for their academic studies. ASDAC provides a confidential service for all students with additional learning needs and can give you advice on academic support
  • University of Portsmouth Students Union (UPSU) Advice Service - The Advice Service offers free, confidential, impartial and non-judgemental support. Providing advice and guidance on a range of academic and university issues that you may face throughout your studies. They can help you understand the University's policies and procedures, as well as support you with any University meetings.