Your wellbeing is key to allowing you to make the most of your time at Cambridge personally and academically. Whether your wellbeing is impacted by a disability, physical or mental health issues, concerns or problems that are personal or related to your study, or by the loss of a loved one or a break up of a relationship, there is a range of support available to you within your College, the University, the city of Cambridge and beyond. The University’s Student Support pages are a resourceful place where students can access such support.
UNIVERSITY POSTGRADUATE WELLBEING SERVICE
The Postgraduate Wellbeing Service supports taught and research postgraduates. The service offers online and in-person appointments and is available throughout the academic year, including the summer months. Students can access the service via the self-referral form.
UNIVERSITY COUNSELLING SERVICE
The University Counselling Service (UCS) supports students who are experiencing personal, relational or academic concerns. The UCS offers students an initial 75-minute appointment (within 10 working days) where the student will be asked to engage in a five-stage process. This model of counselling is called ‘One at a Time Therapy’ and the aim of this model is to provide therapeutic support at the point of need, rather than having to wait. More sessions can be provided at the student's request. You can also access group workshops and self-help resources.
MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE SERVICE
The Mental Health Advice Service (MHAS) supports students with mental health issues that have a significant impact on their everyday lives or academic work. This service can be accessed by referral only from a College or University supporting staff member.
HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE SUPPORT SERVICE
The Harassment and Violence Support Service (HVSS) provides practical and emotional support to students who have experienced sexual assault, violence or rape recently or in the past, whether this happened in a university context or not.
Students who have been impacted by racial harassment, discrimination, or violence can access support from a Racial Harassment Advisor.
ACCESSIBILITY AND DISABILITY SERVICE
The Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) provides advice, information and support to all disabled students and students who have access requirements. The ADRC supports individuals with any disability, medical matter or injury.
If you are new to Cambridge, register with a General Practitioner (GP) for any medical treatments you might need. Call NHS 111 for out-of-hours support, or 999 for emergencies.
More information on accessing support for physical health such as registering with a GP, accessing your College Nurse, prescriptions, dental care and sexual health can be accessed on the Student Support pages.
COLLEGE-BASED SUPPORT SERVICE
In your College, you could access support from your Tutor, The Head of Wellbeing or the Wellbeing Advisor, the Nurse or the Chaplain.
STUDENT ADVICE SERVICE
For independent, impartial and confidential advice contact the Student Advice Service. Our Advisors can help you consider the impact these difficulties are having on your time at Cambridge and what options may exist going forward.
NHS 111 OPTION 2
Call NHS 111 Option 2 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Text HEAR to 85258
Free mental health text messaging support service provided by NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This provides real-time support to people of all ages. When texting the word HEAR to 85258, the person will be connected to a trained volunteer. During the confidential and anonymous conversation, the texter will be supported and signposted to local and national mental health services.
If you experience financial difficulties whilst at Cambridge there is plenty of help available from colleges, the University and the government.
Our Finance section provides information on funding options, assistance with medical costs, hardship funds, support for student parents, estranged and care-experienced students, disabled students, external funds from the government and various charities, etc.
CN: harassment, sexual misconduct, bullying, discrimination, sexual violence, abuse, rape, hate crime, domestic abuse, sexual violence, revenge porn
If you have experienced inappropriate behaviour from another student or a member of staff in your College or the University, the Student Advice Service can help you explore your options around these issues and support you whether you wish to raise your concerns or not. Your Tutor should also be able to support you on such matters.
Students who have experienced sexual harassment, violence or assault may wish to access support from the University’s Harassment and Violence Support Service. The Service provides trauma-informed emotional and practical support to all students whether the incident took place recently or in the past.
You might also consider accessing support from external resources. Some are listed below and more can be accessed on the Student Support pages.
• Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre provides a range of support services for those whose gender identity includes the category of ‘woman’ to any extent.
• The Elms is a sexual assault referral centre for people who have recently experienced sexual assault. They provide support to all victims irrespective of their choice to report.
• Mankind UK is a confidential helpline for self-identifying male victims of domestic abuse and loved ones seeking advice.
• Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline offering a safe space to discuss any issues impacting LGBT+ individuals, including but not limited to support for victims of sexual assault & harassment.
• Galop is an LGBT+ anti-violence charity providing support services for hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence victims/survivors. Services can be accessed via telephone, email, text and Whatsapp.
• Bi Survivors Network is a specific mutual-support network for bisexual survivors that is open to people of all gender identities. A space to find solidarity and support amongst individuals with common experiences of sexual violence.
• Revenge Porn Helpline is a support service for adults experiencing intimate image abuse (‘revenge porn’). Support is usually provided over telephone or email, however telephone lines are temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Email: email@example.com.
Students who have experienced any behaviour amounting to harassment, bullying, discrimination, sexual violence, abuse, coercive behaviours or related misconduct can raise their concerns with the University. Information on the reporting options available to students can be accessed at this link: Student Complaints and Discipline.
Your College may have its own Harassment and Sexual Misconduct procedures. This information can usually be found on your College’s website, the Student Handbook or by contacting the Tutorial Office. Your College may also have a College Discrimination and Harassment Contact who can signpost and support students experiencing any form of discrimination or harassment. Individuals in these roles tend to be the Senior Tutor, College Nurse, Chaplain, designated ‘Harassment Officer’, or academic staff member. If you are unsure of who in your College holds this role you can speak with your Tutor, Senior Tutor or contact the Tutorial Office.
In 2015 The Student Sex Work Project found that roughly 5% of students were involved in sex work. Considering the worsening economic climate since 2015 and the looming cost of living crisis we recognise that this number is likely higher now. Although sex work seems to remain incredibly stigmatised Cambridge Students’ Union supports a student’s right to choose to engage in sex work for any reason - economic or otherwise. We are committed to providing support and advice to student sex workers in our community.
SEX WORKERS KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
The laws around sex work are various and confusing. Helpfully, Release have put together a detailed booklet ‘Sex Workers and the Law’. This includes a full breakdown of the criminal offences related to sex working and the buying of sexual services; offences specific to premises used for sex working; the law around anti-social behaviour orders; dealing with the police and the criminal justice system more generally; criminal records; trafficking offences; advice on tax and the rules around non-British sex workers.
Additionally, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) have put together a ‘Know Your Rights’ guide written by sex workers and legal professionals briefly and accessibly explaining sex work laws. The ECP guide is shorter but will still help you to know the law, learn how to protect yourself from arrest, defend yourself if charged, and find out where to get further help.
For international students concerned about visas and deportation, the ECP also have a free ‘Know Your Rights Against Deportation’ guide for sex workers. Please be advised that if you are on a Student Visa and are found sex working you may be contravening employment rights and be subject to legal action. Please see pages 10 & 11 of the ‘Toolkit for Student Sex Workers’ for further information.
Both ECP guides are available in English, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Mandarin, Greek, Italian, Romanian, Spanish and Thai here.
CAMBRIDGESU STUDENT ADVICE SERVICE
The Student Advice Service is a free student support service provided by Cambridge Students’ Union. This means they are independent of the University and colleges. The service treats all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, race or disability, with respect; they are a confidential, non-judgemental, non-directive and inclusive service. As a team of professional and friendly Advisors, they provide a listening ear in a safe and confidential space where you can share your experiences without judgment. They can help you explore reporting options and identify support available from your College, University and external. Ultimately they are happy to tailor the support they offer to your needs and to the extent you feel comfortable.
This service is also available to students who are taking time out of their studies and so you are able to continue accessing the service during a period of intermission.
To book an appointment to speak with an Advisor please follow this link where you can fill in the appointment request form or submit an enquiry.
We’re also aware that 55% of students sex workers are disabled students. If you are a disabled student sex worker you can also receive support from the University’s Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
CN: mentions sexual violence
The Harassment and Violence Support Service (HVSS) provides emotional and practical support to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed, recently or in the past. They can support you whether this happened at university or not and can help you access other available support services. The HVSS can support you to explore your options for reporting what has happened and can support you through any reporting process if you choose to go ahead. This service is not counselling or therapy, but can offer you focused, short-term, emotional support to look at managing the impact of what has happened. You do not have to report your experience to access support from the HVSS.
The University’s Counseling Service provides individual and group counselling for students on a range of matters. They will only use or pass on your information with your express consent unless required by law or where there are serious concerns about your safeguarding or wellbeing. If your information is to be shared, they will contact you to inform you of what will be shared, with whom and the reason for doing so.
The SU offers students a variety of different condoms, dental dams and lube. These are freely available and can be found in the SU lounge on Mill Lane.
Alternatively, you can register for the C-Card scheme which exists for 16-24-year-olds to access free condoms, femidoms, lube, dental dams and chlamydia testing kits. This service is free and confidential with several pick-up points throughout the city and the option to get sexual health products delivered to your home too.
Additionally, there is a free sexual health clinic on Mill Road. They offer free, routine sexual health screening kits which can be discreetly delivered to your address in plain packaging. They can also provide emergency contraception, HIV testing, PrEP and further support plus advice.
The Toolkit for Student Sex Workers provides useful and proficient safety tips for sex workers who work online and in person, self-employed and through agencies. Their advice, informed by former student sex workers, can be found on pages 5-10 in their booklet.
The Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) put together a 34-page PDF guide for sex workers on digital security, setting boundaries with clients, legal definitions of different kinds of stalking/harassment and where you can turn for help. To request a copy you will need to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student sex workers might also wish to join a union. The Sex Workers Union has a UK branch which works with strippers, hostesses and sex workers across the UK to improve conditions in clubs through collective negotiation and individual casework. They organize to establish ‘worker’ status, which will enable those working in clubs to claim basic rights at work, such as annual leave, sick pay, a guaranteed basic wage and the right to organize and be represented by a trade union.
Support for Student Sex Workers: A community of former and current sex workers which offers support to individuals involved in all aspects of the sex industry. They offer a confidential service which operates online, over the phone and in person with experienced mental health professionals and sex worker advocates.
National Ugly Mugs: Sign up to NUM for free to report incidents and receive warnings about dangerous individuals. If you report to National Ugly Mugs they will use the information to warn other sex workers and potentially save their lives.
Pineapple Support Society: Pineapple Support provides 24/7 online, emotional support as well as free and subsidized professional therapy and advice to all performers and producers who have been active in the adult online industry within the past 6 months.
Revenge Porn Helpline: UK service supporting adults (aged 18+) who are experiencing intimate image abuse, also known as revenge porn. They offer non-judgemental and confidential advice plus help with reporting. You can contact them on the phone, by email, Facebook Messenger or by sending them an anonymous ‘Whisper’ report.
SAAFE (Support and advice for Escorts): A collective of independent escorts who offer a range of advice, guidance and support on all aspects of the paid sex industry. A useful resource for both new and more experienced sex workers SAAFE brings together a range of information to help cut short the learning process in a business where experience really does count.
SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement): A sex worker-led collective based in the UK that campaigns for the rights and safety of all sex workers.
Although term time can be very busy, it is important to find a balance between your social and academic life.
Click here for tips on socialising and making friends at University.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website provides information on Personal Safety Out and About where you can read about what to consider before going out, when you travel on foot (such as trying to use well-lit, busy streets and routes that you know), festival safety, when and how to use an alarm, etc. You can also access helpful information in the Students and Personal Safety section, such as choosing where to live, going out at night or travelling by taxi.
Cycling is often the fastest, cheapest, and safest way of getting around the city, but if you're not used to cycling in traffic there are some useful things you need to know. You will have already noticed that there are a lot of cyclists here, who play a key part in reducing congestion and helping to give Cambridge a unique feel.
Camcyle, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, has developed a ‘safe and considerate cycling in Cambridge’ guide - Welcome to Cycling in Cambridge. In this guide, you can find information on bike lights, road safety, road signs, sharing the space and caring for others, keeping your bike safe and maintained, and a city centre cycling road map.
You may also wish to access information on the University’s website where you can read about cycle training and tips for staying safe. Although the information on the website mentions that Outspoken training is free for University staff, their own website indicates that university staff and students may claim 1 x 2-hour one-to-one sessions. Please note that this information is correct at the time of writing: September 2023. We recommend you verify the information with Outspoken Training as the offer might change.
For money-saving tips you can visit moneysavingexpert.com where you can find information on getting a good deal on buying a second-hand bike, looking after your bike and staying safe, getting cheap bike insurance if you need it, etc.
The Government's own cycle safety website has some excellent cycling advice too.