Studying at University can be an exciting and fun time. It can also feel quite challenging at times, and that's okay. At Birmingham, we take your health, wellbeing and safety seriously and offer you different things you can do to stay happy and healthy at UoB.
Support in your School
Your Personal Academic Tutor
Every student has a Personal Academic Tutor. Their role is to support your personal and academic development, as well as assist with any welfare issues you might have for the duration of your study. You'll meet regularly with your Personal Academic Tutor and your tutor peer group throughout the year, giving you the chance to get to know a small group of students in your cohort. You can find out more about your Personal Academic Tutor from your School during Welcome.
Your Wellbeing Officer
Each School has dedicated Wellbeing Officers who are able to provide practical and emotional support if you're experiencing personal problems, especially where these begin to interfere with your academic work. They can also recommend sources of professional help and, if appropriate, will guide you through the extenuating circumstances process.
Find your Wellbeing Officer
Support for disabled students at University
We welcome everyone here at Birmingham, regardless of physical disability, medical conditions, or other specific special needs.
Telling us about any disabilities means we can advise and provide you with the appropriate advice and support throughout your studies. A disability may be a long-term health condition, physical or sensory impairment, a mental health difficulty, autism, and specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia. Read some of our useful information for new disabled students joining us at Birmingham.
Find your community
Feeling part of a community is an incredibly important part of settling in and feeling happy and supported during your studies at UoB.
Your first couple of weeks may feel a bit daunting. We’ve all been there, and while it’s true that everyone is in the same boat, we also understand that not every boat is exactly the same. That’s why Welcome Week is a great opportunity for you to get out there and meet new people with similar interests. And don't panic about having to meet your new best friend during the first week – you’ll keep meeting lots of other people throughout your time here.
There are loads of ways to find like-minded people, whether it's on your programme, in accommodation or on your commute, through clubs and societies, or even volunteering and part-time jobs. You can check some of them out below.
Join a student group or society to try something new, explore your favourite activities, or pick up some handy skills!
Sometimes, you just need to meet with like-minded students. We get it! Discover our vibrant communities.
Why not connect further with us? Get a taste of what student life is really like at Birmingham. #HelloBrum
If you're worried about not finding your community because of drinking, then read Student Content Shaper Fatema's experience on having a fun social life as a sober student. Whether it's because of culture, religion, alcohol issues, health reasons, you can still have a fun student experience without alcohol whilst at University.
Stay healthy and safe
Mental health and wellbeing support
When you’re going through a tough time, you can always depend on us. Whether you’re being affected by your studies or life in general, we’re here to support you. We can offer a range of free and confidential services for all students here at UoB, from our trained and friendly Wellbeing Officers in every College, to our 24/7 support line UBHeard.
We can help you find a service that works for you. Our Time to Talk? resource can help you find the right people to talk to, or you can explore our full range of mental health and wellbeing support through the World of Wellbeing.
You can also read what our Student Content Shapers Gracie and Sharon have to say about their personal experience with struggling with mental health whilst at University.
Recovering from addiction
We understand that starting University can be an exciting time, but being away from a normal routine can sometimes lead to development habits and behaviours, that, over time, can start to have more negative impact on your life. From substances like alcohol or drugs, or behaviours like gambling, online shopping, gaming, screen time, or porn addiction, you can get the help you need at UoB.
Our own recovery programme, Better Than Well, is for students in recovery from alcohol, drug or behavioural addictions, and is coordinated by academic staff from the Institute for Mental Health, but is run by students supporting their peers to maximise educational and social opportunities while continuing a personal programme of recovery from addiction.
Find out about Better Than Well
We know that many of you may be feeling worried about the rising costs of living and managing your money at University. We’ve been working with the Guild of Students to ensure that our student community are supported with some practical changes and initiatives, in response to your feedback, to help reduce some of your costs and ease your worries. Some of our practical changes and initiatives include:
- Free period products: You can now pick up environmentally friendly period products including tampons and sanitary towels on campus from the Aston Webb Student Hub, the Guild of Students, or Westmere House.
- Casual jobs on campus: Did you know that there’s casual employment opportunities on campus? Worklink connects students with paid casual work that you can fit around your studies. You can also find and apply for job opportunities at the Guild of Students.
- Free access to utilities on campus - Our handy page provides a list of places on campus where you can refill your water bottle, access microwaves, and free hot water. Food Fellows is also bringing micro markets - new self-service vending machines with a convenient microwave and hot water tap - to colleges across campus. Keep an eye out on your Student News for updates, or you can follow @UoBFoodFellows on Instagram.
Learn more on our Cost of Living page
Register with a doctor
Registering with a local GP (General Practitioner, also known as a doctor) practice will make sure you can access support for your mental and physical health, and they’re usually the first service you should contact if you ever experience a problem.
We recommend that you should register with a GP near to where you spend most of your time, which is likely to be your term-time address. There are a few GP surgeries near to campus. They're really convenient, and familiar with anything you might need support with. Don’t wait until you feel unwell, register as soon as you get here. Your health is important to us.
We really encourage you to check which vaccinations you’re eligible for to help protect you against illness and keep you healthy. There are also some other useful things to know about keeping yourself healthy.
You're strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible and they are available to you. You may be eligible in the UK if you are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Your GP will be able to advise you. Find out more.
New students are considered to be particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia (also called sepsis or blood poisoning). Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.
You're strongly encouraged to speak to your doctor about having the Men ACWY vaccine a few weeks before the start of term, or as soon as possible. International students and those not offered the vaccine by their GP (general doctor) should request it when registering with a GP, which you should do as soon as you arrive at University.
Find out about the Men ACWY vaccine
MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. These are highly infectious diseases which can have serious complications. The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses.
Find out about the MMR vaccine
The NHS are providing the flu vaccine (influenza) to more people this year, including those living with someone who is at high risk from coronavirus. If you're eligible, we encourage you to take it.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Many young adults will have received the HPV vaccine at school. The HPV vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart. It protects against types of HPV which have been linked to risks of different types of cancers, and genital warts.
If you didn't receive it at school, you may be eligible if:
- You're female and were born after 1 September 1991
- You're male and you were born after 1 September 2006
- You're a man who is gay, bisexual, or have sex with other men (MSM) and are aged 45 or under
Trans women (people who were assigned male at birth) are eligible in the same way as MSM if their risk of getting HPV is similar to the risk of MSM who are eligible for the HPV vaccine. Trans men (people who were assigned female at birth) are eligible if they have sex with other men and are aged 45 or under.
Find out about the HPV vaccine
Mpox (previously known as Monkeypox)
A smallpox vaccination is being offered to people who are most at risk to help protect them against monkeypox. This includes:
- Some healthcare workers
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men at highest risk of exposure
- People who have already had close contact with a patient with confirmed monkeypox
Some sexual health services will be contacting those men that are likely to be at highest risk, others may offer the vaccine alongside other appointments. It may also be offered by relevant employers for healthcare workers. You can visit NHS.uk to find your local clinic or call 111 for advice. It's free to eligible groups. Find out more from the UK government.
We have a few more tips on what to bring to make sure you can stay happy and healthy before you study at Birmingham, especially if you’re moving away from home.
Bring all of your important documents: Make sure you bring all the information, documents, and prescriptions you might need about any illnesses or conditions you have. This might include having copies of any diagnoses, or letter to share with a new GP or health service.
If you’re an international student, you might want to have these translated into English, and for UK students, you should probably make a note of your NHS number, if known. You never know when you might need them!
Bring copies of your prescriptions: If you take any medicines, make sure you bring copies of prescriptions or details of these medicines. You’ll also want to ensure you have enough medicine to last until you’re able to register with a GP and access a local pharmacy.
- Similarly, if you wear glasses or contact lenses, it's helpful to have a copy of your most recent prescription/eye test in case you need replacements. If you get your contact lenses delivered by post, remember to update your address, or make arrangements to collect them.
Get ready by visiting our What to Pack page
As a student, you may be eligible to apply for support with health costs under the NHS Low Income Scheme. This could help you pay for:
- NHS prescription charges
- NHS dental treatment charges
- the cost of sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
- the cost of travelling to receive NHS treatment
- NHS wigs and fabric supports (check with your hospital for their arrangements for supplying NHS wigs)
To apply, you'll need to complete a HC1 Form, or you may be able to apply online. You may also need to provide evidence such as payslips or information about your student loan.
Find out more on the NHS website