Please see below some of the most frequently asked questions and answers.
What is a GP?
In the UK, access to specialist medical care is through a General Practitioner (GP). GP’s are doctors who treat all common medical conditions, and can refer you to a specialist doctor if necessary.
Do I need to register with a GP/doctor in Durham?
It is entirely up to you if you would like to register with a GP/doctor in Durham. Some students like to stay with their home GP/doctor as their GP/doctor is familiar with their history and background. Others, like to register with a GP/doctor at Durham.
To access treatment locally, for mental health support, you would need to register with a local GP/doctor.
You can speak to the GP/doctor about any physical or mental health related issues. The GP/doctor will also be the person who you speak with to access specialist support or to gain a referral to a specialist treatment/service. Please see the universities essential medical information page for more information Essential Medical information - Durham University.
I am an international student; can I bring my medication over to the UK?
I am an international student, and I am on medication, can I get the same medication in the UK?
It may not always be possible for UK GP/doctors to prescribe the same medication. It is strongly recommended that students speak to their current doctor at home to make a plan, well in advance of their move to Durham. It may not always be possible to arrange a GP/doctor appointment immediately upon arrival, so students should bring enough medication to last until they can see a GP/doctor in Durham.
To speed up the process, it is recommended that students register with a Durham GP/doctor as soon as they have a Durham address. This can normally be done online.
I have ADHD and take medication, can I get the same medication at Durham?
Who do I contact at the university if I need to access support?
The most important thing to do is to tell a staff member if you need support. This could be your college support staff, a Disability Adviser, or the Counselling and Mental Health Service. We usually find that students tend to speak with their college support staff first. The college staff can then link you with the relevant departments to access your support. For example, they may set up a meeting with your department. They may ask Disability Support and/or a Mental Health Adviser to make contact with you. The most important thing to do is to tell a staff member if you need the support, because when you do that, the support then follows.
How do I transfer existing treatment to Durham?
If you are currently under CAMHS or adult mental health services and need a transfer into Durham NHS adult mental health services, we would advise you to discuss your ongoing treatment and support needs with your Care Coordinator. They can contact the Durham City Access Service on 01388 645 399 to discuss possible transfer; if this is not agreed, you need to see your Durham GP/doctor to discuss this as soon as you have registered here. It is often helpful to bring any letters or summaries about your mental health history with you, so that your new GP/doctor can take these into consideration when planning your treatment.
As registering with a GP/doctor may take time, we suggest students speak to their current doctor about bringing a supply of medication with them to Durham, so that they do not run out before they are able to meet with a local GP/doctor.
I have a restricted eating disorder, what support is available to me?
Durham University follows national guidelines on thresholds for safe study where a student has an eating disorder. The Counselling and Mental Health Service have some guidelines outlining the universities’ position. We encourage any student with a BMI below 17 to discuss the safety of starting university with their care provider, as national guidelines recommend taking a break from study until a healthy BMI has been sustained for a longer period. We appreciate it can be very disruptive and distressing for students to start at Durham and rapidly be required to pause their studies. You can contact the Counselling and Mental Health Service if you have any concerns about the guidance.
My mental health is managed at the moment, I’m worried I will have a relapse. What can I do if I do relapse?
It is a great feeling, when you feel on top of your mental health, life feels manageable again and you are excited for the future. As with any medical condition, sometimes there can be a relapse, and it is important to remember that you got better before, so you will do again. Sometimes, we just need a little bit of support to help us get well again.
When you are away from home, maybe with a different GP/doctor, it is hard to know where to turn. There are things you can do:
Go and see your GP/doctor
First and foremost, go and see your GP/doctor. Your GP/doctor will be able to discuss your mental health and the treatments available to you.
Your GP/doctor may also discuss NHS Talking Therapies. In Durham Talking Changes, is a free self-help and talking therapies service which Durham University students can access if they are registered with a GP/doctor in the County Durham and Darlington area. The service is designed to help people to deal with common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, as well as panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
At the university, it is really important that you tell a staff member that you are having a relapse. This could be your college support staff, a Disability Adviser, the Counselling and Mental Health Service, or an Academic. The staff member you choose to speak to will be able to trigger the support network at university, and refer you to:
Counselling and Mental Health Services offer support from the university counselling team, psychological wellbeing support and the mental health advice team. On the Counselling and Mental Health Services website, there are also links to external support services, such as private therapy, if that is something that you would like to explore also.
Disability Support. The Disability Support Service supports students with reasonable adjustments to help them with their studies. A Disability Adviser will work with the student to discuss their learning environment and discuss appropriate adjustments, around academic commitments, such as exam, presentations, group work, lab work, as well as many more.
Your college support team can offer welfare and pastoral support throughout your time at University. They will be able to guide you through University systems and policies, and be able to refer to the support services available at the University.
The important thing to remember is, if you recognise that you are relapsing, you must see your GP and tell a staff member, so the support can be put in place.
I have a long-term mental health condition, what support can I get to help me with my academic studies?
Long- term mental health conditions, that have a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities is cited in the Equality Act 2010. Any student with a disability, can access support from the Disability Support team. The team will support students to implement reasonable adjustments such as paced deadlines, exam concessions and library support. They will also support students to access Disabled Students' Allowance or alternative funding. This funding can provide specialist equipment or non-medical help such as mentoring.
I don’t feel like I need reasonable adjustments at this point in time, can I seek support when I need them?
Reasonable adjustments are measures put in place by Disability Support to help you with your studies. Adjustments can include extended library loans, exam arrangements and spaced deadlines.
If you have a disability, which includes a mental health condition, and even if you feel on top of your condition, we would always recommend putting adjustments in place. That way, the adjustments are there if you need them.
What if I won’t get my first college choice?
This is a common concern from prospective students. All our colleges at Durham University offer supportive and communal environments. In the event that you don’t get your first choice of college, don’t worry. We would always recommend, that you:
What do I do if I don't get on with my corridor / flat / room mates?
This is a common concern we hear when we speak with prospective students. Moving away from home, and not knowing who you will be allocated with within your college/accommodation is a daunting thought. We can’t foresee that you won't get along with your flat mates, there is however, something you can do in the event that you don’t. Should this happen, we would recommend and encourage you to speak with your college support staff, who can discuss ways to resolve the situation.
If there are medical reasons which means sharing a room becomes challenging. Do ensure you speak with your allocated college over the summer months, so that they are aware of your needs. The sooner you speak with your college, the better. They can then guide you through any processes they have regarding room allocation, and it also gives you time to gather any evidence they may require in order to meet your needs.
This is a shared worry with a lot of students, when leaving home for the first time. Academic success is only half the story at Durham, there is a wider student experience, which you can explore before your arrival.
Look through the Durham Students Union page, and the student groups you can join to meet like minded friends: https://www.durhamsu.com/
Use the summer months to explore the above links and find out what wider experience you would like to be involved in.
I’m worried my room is located in a noisy area of college.
This is a concern that some prospective students raise. A quieter located room may be needed for medical or disability related issues. Should you need a room located in a quieter area of college (for example, away from the student bar), for medical or disability related reasons, we would recommend that you speak with allocated college to see if they are able to accommodate this. We would recommend that you speak with your college as early as possible, so they can guide you through the process and you can collate any evidence they may require.
We cannot guarantee the noise levels in college. But, should you find that your corridor is louder than anticipated, you can speak with your college support staff and they can work with you to resolve the situation.
I have been allocated a catered college, but I have special dietary requirements. Who do I speak to?
If you have special dietary requirements, you must speak to your allocated college in advance of coming to Durham. Your college support staff can discuss your dietary requirements and how they can support you.
I have been allocated a self-catered college, but I can’t cook. What should I do?
We do get asked this question a lot. The best advice we can give you is to practice over the summer. Set yourself goals, perhaps cook a meal for you and your family once a week. Get your parents to share their special bolognaise recipe. The key to this answer is practice, practice, practice. The more you do it, the more accomplished you will become. You will soon be whizzing up Masterchef recipes!!
I’m worried I won’t be able to find my lecture/seminar rooms. What if I get lost?
During freshers week, you will be able to familiarise yourself with the University Campus. It is a lot smaller than it appears on the map (but watch out for those hills!). There will also be plenty of staff and students to ask should you get a little lost. As a starting point, do take the time to look and familiarise yourself with this campus map, why not find your college on the map, your department, then try and find the city centre: https://www.durham.ac.uk/visit-us/location/
When you arrive, you will find that you will be able to navigate around campus in no time.
Can my parents/guardians speak with the university on my behalf?
At the age of 18, you legally become an adult, which means the university needs third party consent from yourself to speak with your parents/guardians. If you would like your parents/guardians to speak with your college or Disability Support staff on your behalf, then ask each of the departments how to set up third party consent. Each department may have a different process but do approach them to set this up, if this is something you are interested in doing.
I am a parent; how do I ensure support from the university is in place for my child?
In order to communicate with parents/guardians, the university does need third party consent in place. If we do not have third party consent in place, it does mean that the university is unable to talk with you about your child. Do look at the above question on how to get third party consent in place.
If third party consent is not in place, we can give general advice on ways you can help your child receive the support they need. For example, over the summer months:
Helping your child with a list of questions, they may want answers to.
Setting up appointments with departments (such as Disability Support), your child may want to talk with.
Helping your child gather any medical evidence they may need for their support.
Helping your child prepare for university, is vital as it means the support can be put in place sooner.
I am a parent/guardian, will the college staff / Disability Advisers / Counselling and Mental Health Service, check on my child regularly to ensure that they are, ok?
Unfortunately, we would be unable to check on each individual student. We would always advise that your child seeks the support, so we get them the support they need.