Students Factsheet 


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  • Student Life
  • Finding Help
  • Local colleges and universities


Student Life

The years of being a student can bring great benefits, in terms of freedom and life experience, and developing skills and knowledge. It can also be a time where new friendships are forged, and where transition to adulthood is made.

However, students also face a number of potential risk factors to their mental health. Staring higher education is often a time of great change, and this in itself brings risks to well-being. It can be a time when there are other worries present- money or debt concerns, health issues arising for the first time, or for some, being away from home. Conversely older students may struggle to juggle the demands of working, studying and family responsibilities.

Colleges and universities are well aware of this and have a range of support available to help students. Whether you are thinking of going to college or university, but are feeling daunted, are already studying, or concerned about a family member or friend, there are services available to help. Sometimes knowing which service to access and when can be tricky. The best way is to speak to someone about your concerns as soon as possible, whether they are part of the university or college structure or are outside this (for example your GP).

The most common practical difficulties faced by students are being on the wrong course, shortage of money, trouble with accommodation, or falling out with friends, family, or flatmates. Being away from home, or wanting to leave home can also lead to difficulties. Any of these can lead to depression or anxiety, even if it’s never happened before.

International students, mature students and those from minority ethnic groups can have more pressures and need more support at times. And some students develop a serious mental illness while at college or university, or already have a mental illness before enrolling on a course, and find that the college or university setting exacerbates the issue. It’s important to remember that we all need support with our mental health from time to time, and that this is why there are services available.



Finding Help

There is an increasing amount of interest in the promotion of mental health of students both within Lothian and across Scotland currently. NUS Scotland’s Think Positive campaign aims to achieve better mental wellbeing for students and reduce stigma for students experiencing difficulties. There are ways to participate in this project, either within your college or university or with the Scottish project.

Colleges and Universities often have support services for their students, which can help personal matters as well as issues like financial matters and housing. Many colleges and Universities also have their own counselling services for students.


Local Colleges and Universities

There are several colleges in and around West Lothian. These all have dedicated students support services. Click the links below for more information about the support provided by each one.

Edinburgh University

Heriot Watt University

Napier College Support

Oatridge College

West Lothian College


Useful Links

The College Network has some information on student mental health