If you become unwell, there are lots of options you can consider. This page covers:
See our pages on support for students, seeking help for your mental health, and crisis services for more information about getting help for your mental health.
Who can I talk to about my options?
It may be helpful to have a chat with someone impartial about your options, even if just to help get it clear in your own mind about what you think would help.
- Your academic supervisor or tutor should be able to help you to understand your university's policy for taking time out and to consider how you could take a more flexible approach to your studies.
- Your Students' Union advice service or welfare office can provide impartial advice.
- Your university's disability service can support you to think about taking time out or taking a more flexible approach to your studies.
Support on your course
If you do become unwell, it's important for you (or someone you trust) to explain the situation to your academic supervisor or tutor as soon as possible. Even if you have previously explained that you have a mental health problem, they may not be aware that you're feeling worse. The sooner you let them know, the easier it is for them to help you get support with your academic work.
You may be able to:
- receive special dispensation when your work is marked
- extend deadlines
- re-sit exams
Take time out from your course
Each university is different in the way it approaches taking time off from studying. It may be possible to:
- defer the course for a time
- repeat a term or year
Your university may need a letter from your doctor to explain how your mental health is affecting your studies.
Take a flexible approach to studying
Your university might be able to make adjustments to how you study. For example, you may be able to:
- complete your degree part-time
- have longer deadlines for coursework
- get more time in exams
It may help to start by thinking about what you would need to make it easier to continue your studies.
Think about alternatives
You might feel that continuing your course isn't right for you, and that's okay. It could be useful to think about some alternatives:
- trying a different course or location (see our page on choosing your course for things to consider when choosing a course)
- studying a vocational course or apprenticeship
- taking a gap year
- starting work
Not Going To Uni has advice and information about alternatives to university.
This information was published in February 2016. We will revise it in 2019.