The Trinity Hall MCR is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the whole postgraduate community. While Cambridge’s college system can often feel confusing, it provides opportunities for students to access mental health services at the college, faculty and university level. These services are all free, confidential, non-judgemental and open to everyone. This page lists a few of the most important contacts for mental health and welfare issues within College and around Cambridge.
In addition to this list, a comprehensive guide to university services can be found at https://www.studentwellbeing.admin.cam.ac.uk.
Trinity Hall Mental Health and Wellbeing Service
The college has an internal Mental Health and Wellbeing Service which offers professional, confidential support to all college members. The service can operate remotely or in person depending on preference and is accessible throughout the year with the exception of August. It offers thirty-minute assessment sessions to students feeling any kind of mental stress, with the option to start a series of counselling sessions or less structured support sessions with a dedicated Mental Health Practitioner (MHP). The service can also refer students for mental health treatment outside of college if this is considered a helpful way forward.
Compared to other mental health services, the internal Trinity Hall service has several advantages. Waiting times are typically shorter than the university-wide service and may well offer support over a longer duration. The Wellbeing Team attempt to respond to all referrals within 24 hours Monday to Friday and offer an Initial Assessment within 5 working days of first contact. The colege offers ongoing MHP support to those who need it of between 1 and 3 sessions per term with a focus on emotional regulation and coping strategies. As members of the college community, the Mental Health team can also help reach out to tutors and administrators and assist with processes like securing intermission. However, MHPs and Counsellors will not share any personal information without express permission.
Counselling sessions are also typically longer in length than university counselling sessions. Counselling at College is limited to 8 sessions and intended to support students during their time at Trinity Hall. Each session is around 60 minutes and are typically held weekly, with the option of referral if longer-term counselling is required. Some areas where counselling can be helpful are anxiety, abuse, bereavement, eating disorders, depression, family difficulties, relationship difficulties, self-harm stress (generalised and specific), sexual problems and identity issues.
If you want to self-refer for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, you can e-mail the college’s Mental Health Practitioner Julie McCrae and its Counsellor/Mindfulness Practitioner Sarah Parkin at email@example.com.
University Counselling Service
The University of Cambridge offers a free, confidential counselling service which is available to all students. It offers one-off drop-in sessions, free seminars on dealing with stress, grief and trauma and regular counselling sessions to students in need. It can also provide dedicated Mental Health Advisors for students with ongoing mental health difficulties. As mentioned earlier, this is a university-wide service, which means that the standard of care is very high but waiting times may be long.
You can e-mail the service at firstname.lastname@example.org, call on 01223 332865 or visit the service on the third floor of the Student Services Centre, New Museums Site, CB2 3PT. The building is easiest to access from Bene’t Street, near the Corpus Clock. More information can be found here and the form for self-referral can be found here.
Students’ Unions’ Advice Service
The undergraduate and postgraduate students’ unions also run a more general advice service which can provide confidential and thorough assistance on a variety of potentially stressful topics, from academic issues to finances and finding the right accommodation. For students who are new to Cambridge, they also offer a comprehensive guide to the college system and what to expect from the various levels of university administration. While you can book in advance, they operate weekly drop-in sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-2pm.
The Advice Service can be contacted by email at email@example.com, called on 01223 746999, or visited in person at the CUSU and Graduate Union Offices, 17 Mill Lane, CB2 1RX. You can also read more about their services here.
Crisis Support Services
Telephone, text and web services can offer free round-the-clock mental health support in urgent situations and when other sources are unavailable. NHS 111 provides 24-hour access to mental health care, advice and support. Nightline, formerly known as Linkline in Cambridge, operate a nightly listening service from 7pm to 7am during term time, while Samaritans run daily from 10:30am to 10pm year-round and CALM operate from 5pm to midnight daily. All three services are run by volunteers and let you talk about anything on your mind and for as long as you need, but without offering judgement or advice.
SOS also operate a crisis hotline from 4pm to midnight daily and from 8am to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while SHOUT operate a text service
You can call 111 for NHS 111 and call Nightline on 01223 744444. You can call the Samaritans at 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call SOS at 0300 1020 505 or email at email@example.com, call CALM at 0800 585858 or web chat at thecalmzone.net and text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 24/7 to access their text service.
If you’re interested in volunteering for Samaritans, you can also attend an information session at 4 Emmanuel Road, Cambridge, CB1 1JW.
If you require medical treatment beyond the scope of university mental health services, including but not limited to psychiatric care, the Crane’s Charity fund can help to cover some of the costs. Applications for Crane’s Charity funding must be made by a college tutor, and grants can cover any treatment which complies with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, takes places within the UK and cannot be reasonably covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Colleges also typically provide a contribution to the Crane’s Charity funds to reduce any remaining financial burden on students. More information on the fund and its application process can be found here.
Apps can offer ongoing mental health support outside the university. The Trinity Hall MHA team recommend Headspace and Woebot in particular, but a helpful list of mental health support apps can be found on the NHS website here.
The Jerwood Library keeps a Welfare Collection on the second floor which ranges from from self-help to new fiction. The Trinity Hall MHAs also recommend a variety of books on mental health and wellbeing, including Steve Peters’ The Chimp Paradox; Derren Brown’s Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine and A Little Happier; John Teasdale, Mark Williams and Zindel Segal’s The Mindful Way Workbok: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself from Depression and Emotional Distress; Paul Gilbert’s Compassionate Mind; Chris Irons’ The Compassionate Mind Workbook; Russ Harris’ The Happiness Trap and Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller’s Attached.
MCR Welfare & Disabilities Officers
If you want more information on any of these services, or simply to talk about something which has been bothering you, you can e-mail the Trinity Hall MCR Welfare and Disabilities Officers. The role of these officers is to be a friendly face around college, to confidentially point out useful mental health services and to work with the administration to build a safer and more inclusive environment for all students.