Accessibility statement

Mental health,emotional distress or psychological difficulty: when things don't feel OK

Reflections on university lake

The University of York provides support for students who are distressed or trying to think any issue through that affects their university experience.

This page explains Open Door and other options for students, how students can get help and how staff can help students access support 

What should you do?

CRISIS - If the student is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or someone else.

On campus - telephone Security on +44 (0)1904 323333
Off campus - telephone emergency services on 999

If it’s a crisis situation or out-of-hours and Security is involved, they will pass the details onto Open Door to ensure the team can follow up and offer the student longer-term support if needed.

If you are uncertain of the risk and need advice.
Contact the Open Door team for advice from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. The team will suggest a course of action and sometimes the student may be seen on the same day.
Tel: +44 (0)1904 322140

Wellbeing Support

Student Wellbeing Officers are embedded in most departments and they offer a safe space for students to discuss any issues that they are experiencing. They are not counsellors or mental health practitioners - they are there to listen, and to provide information, guidance and support. This can involve helping students to develop practical strategies to address difficulties they might be facing, as well as exploring options for managing studies and signposting to other specialist services. Staff can email the Student Wellbeing Officer for their academic department directly. Where a student requires more significant help or support or is experiencing mental health difficulties, Student Wellbeing Officers are able to refer students directly to an Open Door Practitioner

Support from Open Door

For non-urgent issues some students prefer to start with self-help resources.

Open Door Practitioners are qualified to help with emotional distress, psychological difficulties and mental health issues. Practitioners will listen to what is happening, enquire into how someone would prefer their life to be and talk through brief interventions as appropriate.

Students can contact Open Door via our webpage and we'll be in touch within a couple of working days, often quicker.

A Practitioner will contact the student with an offer of help from a range of interventions including advice, guidance or signposting to self-help resources, through to one-to-one sessions with a mental health practitioner.

Open Door are here to help students directly but can also offer advice and guidance to staff who may be concerned about a student. If you are concerned, please contact us at

Each faculty also has also has a dedicated Open Door practitioner who is able to offer support:

  • Science: Rob O’Hagan
  • Social Sciences: Grant Denkinson
  • Arts & Humanities: Kate Rose
  • HYMS: Niki Howard
  • UYMS & SPSW: Abby Brown and Sarah Clayden

Advice for Staff

What should you look out for?

Ask yourself: Is there a change? Do they seem different? Is there a difference in their work? Has their attendance dropped? Are they behaving in a way that indicates there is something wrong?

Ask them: How are you? Is there anything you would like to talk through with me or could someone else support you?

You don't need to take on or solve every problem - genuine enquiry and careful listening goes a long way.


Direct students to University webpages and services that can help: