If you are concerned about any aspect of your physical, emotional or mental health, it’s best to seek advice from a member of the medical profession. You can also contact the Student Advice for further guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drop in sessions are held between 1st and 8th week (inclusive) at:
10am - 4pm, Monday - Thursday
Oxford SU, 4 Worcester St, OX1 2BX
This page has information on the following topics:
Alcohol and drugs
How can I find a doctor?
Each college will have a nominated college doctor with whom they encourage students to register. It’s a good idea to register with a GP in Oxford because your medical records will be available if they are needed in an emergency.
Most college doctors will hold surgeries in college, where you can sign up for an appointment.
If you do not want to register with your college GP, then you can find a list of alternative doctors by searching on NHS Choices. The website will show you their contact details, let you know whether they are accepting new patients and provide you with a registration form.
Most colleges also have a college nurse who runs a general health care surgery during specified hours where you can sign up for an appointment.
How can I access dental care?
Many colleges have a nominated dentist. Ask your Welfare Officer for their name and address. For details of local dentists offering NHS treatment you can consult the British Dental Association website.
Do I have to pay for my healthcare?
Students in full-time education under the age of 19 are exempt from most NHS charges, e.g. prescriptions. Other students may be entitled to help with charges on the grounds of low income, if they’re on benefits. Further information is available from the NHS leaflet HC11 - "Help with Health Costs".
If you are not entitled to help with your health costs and you require regular prescriptions, you may find that you could save money by purchasing an NHS Pre-Payment Certificate.
What if I am an international student?
If you are on a full-time course that lasts for six months or more, or one that is substantially funded by the UK Government, then you’re eligible for the same treatment from the National Health Service (NHS, the UK's public healthcare provision service) as an ordinary UK resident. However, you may not be covered if you come here with a pre-existing health condition. Your spouse, civil partner and children will also be covered if they are living permanently with you for the length of your course.
If you are here for less than six months, you will not be eligible for free healthcare, so you should ensure that you have private health insurance which covers your time in the UK.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs has a helpful website that can tell you more about healthcare in the UK.
If you have concerns about any of the above you may wish to consider speaking to an Advisor at the Student Advice.
What is the difference between a pharmacist and a doctor?
Pharmacies sell a wide range of medicines which do not need to be prescribed by a GP. Pharmacists may also be able to give you general medical advice on a range of minor health conditions.
Oxford is a great place to realise your full academic and personal potential. However, it can also be quite stressful adjusting to new surroundings, new people and a new lifestyle. It's not uncommon for students to develop mental health issues or to exacerbate pre-existing conditions.
Where can I find information about the counselling service?
You can find out about the counselling service here
What is the Student Advice, and how can it help me?
The Student Advice is the only free, independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy service exclusively available to Oxford University Students. If you have concerns or want more information get in touch at email@example.com
Drop in sessions are held between 1st and 8th week (inclusive) at:
10am - 4pm, Monday - Thursday
Oxford SU, 4 Worcester St, OX1 2BX
I want to reach out to someone specifically at Oxford SU about mental health. Who can I contact?
The VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in college on issues connected to mental health.
What does the ‘Mind Your Head’ Campaign do?
Oxford SU's 'Mind Your Head Campaign aims to increase awareness of mental health issues among students, and to reduce the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illness. MYH work to empower students to look after their mental wellbeing, to encourage them to seek help when needed, and to look out for others in need of support.
What national campaigns are resources can help me?
Are there any Oxord specific resources about mental health?
Find out more from Oxfordshire county mental health services and Oxfordshire Mind Guide
I’m worried about my sexual health. How do I avoid infections like STIs?
In terms of physical health, you'll want to keep yourself safe from sexually transmitted infections and the chance of an unplanned pregnancy. The best way to do this is by using contraception.
Should I book a GP appointment to test for STIs?
If you are having sex, then it’s worth getting regular testing to check that you haven't picked up an STI and to treat any infection before it causes long-term damage.
GUM Clinics offer testing, treatment, screening for chlamydia and advice on all aspects of sexual health and family planning.
If you think you have an STI, you can visit your GP or the GUM clinic in Oxford. The Student Advice in partnership with Oxfordshire Heath Services are holding events this term offering free HIV and Chlamydia tests, contact an Advisor for more information.
Your college doctor or nurse will also be able to supply you with chlamydia testing kit. Your Common Room Officers run testing session within your college, in association with Oxfordshire Sexual Health Services and Oxford SU.
the NHS Online Chlamydia Testing kit can be found here
Students arrive at university with different ideas and experiences about sex. For many, it's an exciting time of personal development, experimentation, and forming new and intimate relationships.
It’s a time for finding out who you are and feeling good about yourself, for being able to choose to have sex, or not to have sex, and feeling comfortable and accepted about your sexual orientation. It's also a time when you have to take responsibility for your sexual health and safety.
What is relationship abuse?
Relationship abuse involves the misuse of power within a relationship, and is sometimes known as domestic abuse. It can involve physical or sexual violence, but does not always do so, and it is not confined to people in a romantic or sexual relationship.
It is defined by the Home Office as threatening behaviour, violence, or psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality (Home Office, 2004).
What are some signs of an abusive relationship?
- Controlling money
- Obsessive jealousy
- Isolation from friends/family
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse, slapping, punching.
What exactly is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is a sexual act or acts upon or directed to another, which is unwanted and non-consensual by one of the partners. It can be non-violent or violent. Attempted rape, non-consensual touching of genitalia, penetration with body parts or objects, and non-consensual participation in sexual acts characterize sexual violence.
What is consent?
For an act to be consensual, consent must be given – not assumed.
- Consent requires having the freedom and capacity to take part in any aspect of the act (agreeing to one act does not imply consent to another).
- Consensual sexual acts involve all individuals understanding and believing that all parties agree to the act.
- Heavy intoxication and/or unconsciousness inhibiting an individual’s ability to consent does not amount to consent.
The National Union of Students report Hidden Marks shows that one in seven university-age women will experience serious physical or sexual assault while at university. These numbers are staggering, and mean that we all know someone who has survived rape and sexual assault. This section has useful information for reporting, finding support for survivors and those supporting survivors.
What is a sexual crime?
Serious Sexual Assault includes:
- Rape (penetration with penis)
- Sexual Assault by Penetration
- Sexual Assault where the assault is particularly serious or features of the offence are aggravated
- Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.
- An attempt to commit any of the above offences.
Sexual Assault includes:
- Forcing a sexual act upon a person without consent.
- Any act deemed as sexual by the person who experiences it.
- Consent means having the freedom and capacity to make a decision to take part in any act, and having a true belief that consent has been given.
How do I report a sexual assault?
Find out how to report an assault here and more about your options after being affected by sexual violence here
What resources are available?
- Emergency: 999
- Non-emergency: 101
- Anonymously: 0800 555 111
- Oxford Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre 01865 726295 (Monday & Thursday: 6.30pm-9.00pm; Friday, 11.00am - 2.00pm; Sunday, 6.00pm - 8.30pm) or email
- Harassment Advisors - provides confidential advice on low level harassment concerns. 01865270760 or email
- Counselling Service - support for all students within the matriculated University membership. 01865 270300 or email
- Respect - help and advice for abusers/perpetrators
- SurvivorsUK - help and advice for male survivors
- Hidden Marks - NUS document detailing statistics of sexual crimes.
What does Oxford SU offer to educate about consent?
We run Consent Workshops for common rooms, clubs, and societies. If your community would like to hold a consent workshop, please contact the VP Women
Check out the Consent Workshop Report 2017
Alcohol plays a big part of student life. From college bops to traditions like 'pennying', whether you drink or not, drinking culture is everywhere. If you feel you want to speak with someone about your drinking or any concerns, contact the Student Advice.
I’m worried my relationship with alcohol is unhealthy. Who should I contact?
If alcohol is affecting your health, make an appointment with your College GP. They will be able to go through the options available to you.
I think I might drink too much because of other reasons. What can I do?
If there is a reason behind why you are consuming too much alcohol and you wish to speak with a counselor, make an appointment with the A trained counselor may be able to help you consider the next step to resolve what’s affecting you.
If you would like to find out more about drugs and the law in the UK, visit Home office information on different drugs and legal sanctions. Release is a national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, which provides free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals.
As well as the illegal drugs we all hear about in the press, you may be faced with offers of "legal highs" and "smart drugs".
What are study drugs?
The term "study drugs" or "smart drugs" refers to prescription drugs used to increase concentration and stamina for the purpose of studying or cramming. Using or buying these medications without a prescription is illegal. Selling your own prescription is also illegal. There are potential health risks associated with taking drugs not prescribed for you. Users of study drugs can never be certain what the effects might be.
What are legal highs?
"Legal highs" are substances used like illegal drugs but which are not covered by current misuse of drugs legislation. Although these drugs are marketed as legal substances, this doesn’t mean that they are safe or approved for people to use. It just means that they’ve not been declared illegal to use and possess.
Who can I talk to about my concerns?
The Student Advice is the only free, independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy service exclusively available to Oxford University Students. If you have concerns or want more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to campaign about drugs and/or alcohol. Who should I contact?
The Vice President Welfare and Equal Opportunities is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in college on issues connected with drugs and alcohol.
What local resources can help inform me about drugs and alcohol?
What national resources can help me with drugs, and give me more information about addiction?
How can my college help?
If you feel as though alcohol is affecting your health and you need support, make an appointment with your College GP. They will be able to go through the options available to you.
I think there might be an underlying reason which means I’m consuming too much alcohol. Who can I talk to?
If you wish to speak with a counsellor about this, make an appointment with the University Counselling Service. A trained counsellor may be able to help you consider the options available in order to resolve the issues affecting you.
If you are concerned you may wish to consider speaking to an Advisor at the Student Advice.