Mental Health

On these pages we have information for you that looks at the practical sides of preparing yourself and organising your support around you, to make your transition into university life as smooth as possible. There are useful pieces of information that will help you find out how you can have some planned strategies in place to help with this transition and where you can gain support. 

If you live with a non-visible disability, it can be hard to communicate your need for special requirements in a quick way. We want to help our students and staff overcome this challenge, and are introducing the sunflower badge to the University.

Before you arrive at University

Admission to the University is done entirely on academic criteria and a declaration of mental illness will not negatively affect your application. An early declaration and conversation with us will make it more likely that you will be successful as it will allow us to begin putting support in place for you at an early stage.

There are many practical steps we can take to assist you before the academic year begins, including outlining the types of support we will be able to provide and the process for accessing this support and visiting the University in the quieter summer months.

We will also be able to explore the realities of University life with you so you can have some planned strategies in place to help with the transition to university.

Experience shows that those students who seek support have a more positive experience of university and are far more likely to stay well and succeed academically than those who don't. If you have an existing mental illness and are coming to study with us in the future please contact us.

What support is available?

Support is available for you while you are studying at the University of Derby. Starting at University is a major change. It can mean moving away from familiar surroundings and people. The environment at University can be noisy, busy and crowded. There are lots of new things to get used to in a short space of time. But with the correct support in place, you can be successful.

Organising your support

We provide a wide range of support for our students with disabilities; this will vary according to need. To enable us to put support in place we need you to provide us with evidence of your disability. This is usually in the form of a doctor's letter or psychologists’ diagnostic report.

If you have this, please email it to with your details (full name, student number if known, date of birth, general availability and course you're hoping to study).   

Disabled Students' Allowance

As well as reasonable adjustments you might also be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). DSA is available from your funding body and pays for the additional support that students need for university. Our experience shows that students really benefit from the support of DSA. For help with applying for DSA, please contact the Disability Officer at your university. It can take up to three months to get your DSA, so you should apply for it as soon as you have applied for a course.


If you regularly use any medication you must ensure that you bring at least 4 weeks supply with you to university. It can take this long for your notes to transfer from your GP at home to your new GP in Derby. This can delay you getting a new prescription.

If you are unable to get 4 weeks supply, for whatever reason, please contact the Student Services team so we can discuss other options with you.

You can find some brief guides to the different types of medication prescribed on the NHS website. If you are concerned about the impact of your medication on your academic performance do not stop taking it. Please either contact your GP or the Student Wellbeing Service to discuss this.

Transferring your support to Derby

If you are currently receiving ongoing support for your mental health from your GP or from a statutory service such as the following, then it is important that your support is properly transferred to Derby:

In the past, we have been aware of some services recommending that students simply ask their new GP in Derby to set up their support, once they get here.

Unfortunately, this often means that there is a long delay between you arriving and your support being in place. It can take up to six weeks for your notes to be transferred and only then will your new GP be able to start the process of setting up your support.


We have also found that some services have discharged students from their service just before they go to university. In our experience, this does not always work for the majority of students. The first term at university tends to be the most stressful and it is often better for the support you've been receiving to continue at least until you have settled into university life.

We recommend that if you are in receipt of ongoing support that you ask for a referral to Derby. The service supporting you will know how to do this.

Some services (like the Early Intervention Service for instance) will be happy to provide you with support in two places - in Derby and at your current home address during holiday periods. You can discuss this possibility with your support service.

If you are concerned about this issue we are happy to help and can work with you to help get your support in place in Derby - please get in touch with the Student Services team with any concerns.