Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Questioning crime: social harms and global issues
Questioning crime: social harms and global issues

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5 Sources of support

There are many services and organisations that offer help and support to people experiencing emotional distress.

Talk to your GP

Your GP may be the first person you talk to about your mental health problems. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you may find it helpful just to know there is someone you can talk to about the feelings you're having. Your GP may refer you to specialist services if he/she feels they will help you. If you're unhappy with your own doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or make an appointment with a different practice in your area. If you're unsure where to find other doctor’s surgeries, look in your local Yellow Pages or try the NHS Choices website.

Students Against Depression

Students Against Depression [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] offers comprehensive information and resources to help you identify low mood or depression and then find a way forward.

The Mind infoline

Mind offer an information line to answer questions about:

  • types of mental health problem
  • where to get help
  • drug and alternative treatments
  • advocacy

Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably).

Or email

The Samaritans

The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence.

Call 116 123 (UK)* 

Call 116 123 (ROI)* 

*Free to call. 

Or email


A confidential listening and information service run by students for students which operates through the night. Operating hours are mainly in line with term times at campus universities.

Callers to the Hotline outside of hours will receive information about the Samaritans and a contact number to call. Phone: 020 7631 0101

Students outside of UK are recommended to use Skype to phone for free or Instant message (Skype): chat.nightline or Skype Phone: londonnightline

The service has a related email service which operates alongside the hotline all year round. Students contacting the service by email will receive an answer within 48 hours.


Student Minds

Student Minds are a charity that run support groups for students struggling with their mental health. They offer support programmes and workshops to help develop the knowledge and skills you need to take care of your mental health. There is also advice on how you can support a friend that may be having a difficult time.


Rethink Mental Illness

You can call the Rethink advice and information line Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm for practical advice on:

  • different types of therapy and medication
  • benefits, debt, money issues
  • police, courts, prison
  • your rights under the Mental Health Act

Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate).

Breathing Space Scotland

A free and confidential phone line service for any individual who is experiencing low mood or depression, or who is unusually worried and in need of someone to talk to.


Phone: 0800 838587

Choose Life (Suicide prevention in Scotland)


Befrienders Worldwide

Work worldwide to provide emotional support and reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress, and don't judge or tell them what to do.

Website: index.asp

Information and support for a wide range of issues

Website: actionline


Provides mental health and emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental ill health, including family, friends and carers.

Website: what_we_do

Phone: 0300 304 7000, 6pm-11pm, 7 days a week

Self-injury Support

Phone: 0800 800 8088, 7pm-1pm, Mon-Fri


Specialist mental health services

Most people recover from mental health problems without needing to go into hospital. There are a number of specialist services that provide various treatments, including counselling and other talking treatments. You may also need help with other aspects of your life - for example, claiming benefits or dealing with housing problems. Often these different services are coordinated by a community mental health team (CMHT).

CMHTs are usually based either at a hospital or a local community mental health centre. Some teams provide 24-hour services so that you can contact them in a crisis. If you are already in contact with a CMHT you may find it useful to keep their number by your phone in case you need it. Otherwise you should be able to contact your local CMHT via your local social services or social work team.

Other kinds of community mental health team include Crisis and Home Treatment teams, which provide you with help in your own home and can come out to see you in an emergency or help you get into hospital if you need inpatient treatment.

You may also find it helpful to contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau for advice about benefits, debt problems, legal issues and local services. The Citizens Advice Bureau website has a directory listing its local offices.