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Mental health and wellbeing

What is mental health?

We all have mental health. Mental health refers to our state of emotional, psychological and social wellbeing and affects how we think, feel and act. Mental health is not the absence of mental illness, it’s a state of wellbeing and influences how we manage pressure, relate to others and overcome adversity.

Just like our physical health, our mental health can fluctuate over time and be influenced by a range of factors. It’s an ongoing journey and taking steps to look after our mental wellbeing is essential to our overall health and quality of life.

Looking after your mental health

It can be easy to get distracted by life’s demands but staying on top of our mental wellbeing is something we should all think about and take time to invest in. There are many ways in which we can take care of our wellbeing – these look different for everyone - and as our needs change and our lives change, the self-care activities or routines we practice may change over time too.

If improving your mental health and wellbeing sounds daunting, starting small can help, NHS Every Mind Matters and the Mental Health Foundation provide advice and tips on the daily changes we can make that can have a big difference. 

What if I am feeling down?

You are not alone. Most people feel low sometimes, but if it’s affecting your life and if you’re concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek support, contact your GP and make use of the services detailed below:

Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service

The Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service provides professional advice, information and counselling for any member of staff. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by Zoom and you can self-refer for personal and/or work related difficulties.

This service is completely confidential – your identity and whatever you discuss with your counsellor will be always remain private. Please email or call 0113 343 3694.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

If you’re experiencing personal or professional difficulties and would prefer to access support outside the workplace, the University provides an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which offers staff – and their immediate family members – access to a range of wellbeing and mental health support including a 24/7 helpline and a confidential counselling service. 

University guidance for staff

The University of Leeds Employee Guidance explores the importance of taking care of our mental health at work and outlines options for getting support when things are difficult. It also covers the importance of discussing with your manager, any issues at work that are affecting your mental health.

University guidance for line managers

Line managers looking for information and advice on how to recognise and respond supportively when colleagues experience stress and/or mental health concerns can download the University of Leeds managers’ guide to supporting individuals which pulls together all the existing support options the University has in place and details of how to access them. 

The University also delivers a Managing stress and mental health workshop to help managers: understand their roles and responsibilities in this area; become familiar with University guidance; and consider the reactions, needs and dynamics of staff experiencing distress.

We recognise that this aspect of your role may be challenging and we encourage any manager to arrange a role-based professional consultation should they need further support.

University students

Whatever your situation, there are expert teams at the University to help and guide you. Visit our student support and wellbeing webpages for information and contact details of where and how to access support.

Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

If you feel you are struggling and that your wellbeing is impacting your work, or stopping you from attending work, the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service provides external workplace support appointments funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  

The service can help you with nine months of support including a wellbeing plan to help you stay in or attend work, tailored coping strategies and ideas for suitable workplace adjustments. To book an appointment contact with your name, contact number/email and organisation name, or call 0300 456 8114.

University Chaplaincy

University chaplains come from different faith backgrounds and are here to support staff of all faiths and all world views. Chaplains are available for drop-in visits or appointments and have a 24/7 out-of-hours phone service. Call the main office on 0113 343 5071 or email to check availability, or just call by.


Futher help and resources

General support for mental health

Bereavement support

  • Cruse Bereavement Care if you are bereaved and would like to speak with someone, you can call Cruse Bereavement Care for free on 0808 808 1677.
  • GriefChat is an online resource for bereavement support. GriefChat is free of charge and is open Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm.
  • The Good Grief Trust for bereaved families is run by people who have experienced a bereavement themselves.
  • At a Loss is the UK’s bereavement signposting website, offering extensive online information and resources. 
  • Sudden - a charitable initiative for suddenly bereaved people and the people caring for them.
  • NHS Advice on dealing with grief, bereavement and loss includes help with bereavement in children and young people.