Safety, Health and Wellbeing

The top priority for all universities remains the safety, health and wellbeing of the entire university community, this includes mental health and the safety of staff and students who may be at risk of violence or abuse.


Safely emerging from lockdown

As the UK begins to recover from the disruption of the pandemic, it is imperative that its universities can emerge from lockdown safely and in line with guidance from governments, public health advice and health and safety legislation.  

This briefing outlines nine principles and areas for universities to consider and adapt to their own institutions and contexts.

Safety from abuse

Universities UK recognises that the lockdown measures in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 could put individuals at greater risk of domestic violence and technology mediated abuse (online harassment).

Universities will already have policies in place to support staff and students at risk; this briefing has been specifically developed to support them to do this during the Covid-19 pandemic. 



We recommend the following mental health and wellbeing resources to the university community.


Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus includes self-care tips, advice for groups with specific mental health needs, links to further support where needed, and information on how to deal with mental health emergencies.

Public Health England: Every Mind Matters campaign

Public Health England [PHE] has launched a new campaign to support people to manage their mental wellbeing during this difficult time, highlighting new self-care resources. These include expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.

PHE also has an online resource centre to help partners share this information and other relevant resources with their communities. 

Student Minds

Coronavirus resources, relevant for students and staff. This covers information on a number of areas including staying at home, xenophobia and racism, and supporting your friends and family. Student Minds also provides a 'Looking after your mate' guide, shaped by students' own experiences. 

City Mental Health Alliance

The CMHA UK team has compiled a fact sheet detailing useful resources and tips to support the mental health of employees. This is specifically for staff and covers guidance for employers.


Mental health charity Mind has published practical advice for staying at home (including a checklist); taking care of your mental health and wellbeing; and support for work, benefits and housing.

Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response, providing support to address the mental health and psychosocial aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak, alongside colleagues at Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Here are tips from the Mental Health Foundation to help you, your friends and your family look after your mental health.

4mental health

4mental health has developed a new 'WellbeingAndCoping' resource, developed with co-funding from NHS England to offer free calming and practical advice for anyone emotionally struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is suitable for professionals and the general public alike and may be particularly helpful to individuals in a 'carer' role, including young carers. It provides step-by-step guidance to help people build their own personalised physical and mental health wellbeing plan. 

The resource has been designed with expert input from international academics, health professionals, mental health specialists, educators and individuals who are currently struggling emotionally.

Future Learn

The university of Reading has developed the online course 'COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression'. The course explores practical ways to help young people manage their mood and maintain healthy habits during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The course is available for free on the Future Learn website, alongside other courses on youth mental health to explore and understand the mental health issues that affect young people.

Expert Self Care

Expert Self Care creates mobile health information apps that enable organisations to help groups of people find reassuring health advice in seconds, signpost local services effectively and help people avoid the frustrations and dangers of searching online for health information. There is an app specifically for students and this is certified by the NHS.

The Student Food Project

The Student Food Project have a wide range of resources available to help students with cooking at university. As well as a wide selection of recipes on their website, they are also soon to be releasing a free e-book called 'Lockdown Student Cooking' to support self-isolating or quarantining students.

Additionally, the team offer specific support to universities and student unions who want to better support their students with cooking. More information is available here.

Wakey Wakey TV

Wakey! is a daily, interactive breakfast show. It is an alarm-based micro (9-minute) entertainment show delivered on your phone that replaces your snooze button, designed to get its audience up out of bed and active, while communicating mental wellbeing topics accessibly. 

The team have a robust methodology of entertainment and behavioural science, and they are aiming to create different styles of programme to target different demographics.

University of Oxford's Staff Disability Advisory Group 

Information that has been put together by Oxford's Staff Disability Advisory Group to acknowledge the specific issues faced by those who have existing mental ill-health. This is a helpful compilation of useful and reliable resources.

International Federation of the Red Cross, UNICEF and WHO

EPI-WIN seeks to give everyone access to timely, accurate, and easy-to-understand advice and information from trusted sources on public health events and outbreaks: currently the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Living Well Alone Project 

The Living Well Alone Project have produced a short handbook for students who will be unable to return home, drawing on expertise across issues relating to alone-ness, loneliness and solo living. 


Students catch-up studies

Universities boosting academic skills and wellbeing of Year 13s

9 June 2021
​Universities are stepping up efforts to support the education and wellbeing of Year 13s transitioning to higher education this autumn.

Students in corridor

Government decision on student returns in England 'hugely disappointing for students'

13 April 2021
UUK's response to the government's decision to delay further student returns until at least 17 May 2021.

Students in library

Universities demand answers from government on student returns

7 April 2021
Universities and up to a million students were eagerly awaiting the government’s latest roadmap announcement, in anticipation that they would be able to return to safe, socially-distanced in-person teaching and learning from 12 April.

Women studying outside

Government must not take students’ resilience for granted

26 March 2021
UUK has urged the government not to ignore the needs of over a million university students when deciding how to further ease lockdown restrictions in England.