Health and Wellbeing
We want you to make the most of your time here at the RVC and the Advice Centre aims to support you in a number of ways.
As a student, looking after your physical health and mental well-being is important to help you reach your potential and to enable you to fulfil the expectations of The Royal Veterinary College Charter. The Advice Centre staff aim to support you throughout your journey at the RVC and we will help to signpost you to the many internal and external support services available around the College to help you manage your well-being throughout your time here.
The NHS website Student Health has lots of information and tips for living a healthy student life, including information about eating well, stress, smoking, alcohol in moderation, drugs, sexual health and general wellbeing.
Be aware of the effects of alcohol on yourself and others, especially in your first few weeks at College: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
You can refer to NHS Choices under 'find local services' for details of your nearest GP practice that you can register with. Just type in your postcode and you can find the nearest doctor or dentist to your accommodation.
The RVC Student Union is run by and for our students and they offer a fantastically wide range of clubs, societies and activities. They organise free exercise classes for students throughout the year and provide a range of opportunities to get you moving. The SU Wellbeing page highlights a range of welfare services to help you during your time at university.
Our Sports and Wellbeing Centre (SAWC) at the Hawkshead campus welcomes all RVC students and staff to make use of their modern and state-of-the-art facilities. You will need to complete a brief 2-part induction once you have enrolled which will enable you to access the SAWC which was designed to appeal to a range of individuals, including those who are not usually attracted to the more traditional aspects of gyms and sports centres.
Students are advised to have received the Meningitis ACWY and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations before starting their studies. If you haven’t already been immunised against these we suggest discussing this with your doctor.
Although the risk of exposure to Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK remains very low, the RVC would normally suggest that students who are studying veterinary medicine consider receiving the BCG vaccination before they start their course. You should, however, be aware that in some areas of the USA some government agencies place work restrictions on those who have received a BCG vaccination and who would test positive for TB and that the BCG vaccination is not recommended for some individuals who may have other health issues. It is therefore important that you investigate the pros and cons of having the BCG vaccination and, where appropriate discuss this with your doctor, prior to joining the course.
We are encouraging everyone who is eligible, staff and students, to ensure they take up COVID-19 and flu vaccination opportunities as soon as they become available to you.
Paying for NHS Costs
If you are under 19 and in full-time education you will not have to pay for NHS costs. If you’re aged 19 or over and receive NHS treatment you’ll be asked to pay for prescriptions and some health care services (including eye tests and dental work) unless you meet certain NHS exemption criteria. You may be able to claim assistance towards the cost of these NHS treatments on the basis of low income through the NHS low income scheme which can help with:
- 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)
Find out more at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/help-with-health-costs/
Healthcare for International Students
The UK has a healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), which is paid for by taxes. As a part of your visa application, you will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This surcharge helps to fund the NHS and, in exchange, gives you the same free access to healthcare as UK citizens.
Additional health insurance is not required to study at the RVC or in the UK. You will need to pay the charge, even if you are planning on taking out private health insurance. www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/overview
Here at the RVC Advice Centre, we recognise that the student experience can be overwhelming and mental health issues can make a challenging experience even more so. Having mental health difficulties may be more common than you think. A YouGov report (in 2016) uncovered that one in four students have suffered from poor mental health during their time at university. It also found that more than 50% of students know between one and five people that suffer from a mental illness, compared with just eight per cent who know no-one with mental health problems.
According to the report, depression and anxiety are by far the most common mental health issues, with nearly three-quarters of students who are suffering with a mental health problem, reporting both. What's more, of the students who said they suffered with mental health issues, nearly half reported that these problems affected their ability to complete daily tasks, with four per cent of those surveyed saying that even the simplest tasks were beyond them.
You should always contact your GP first if you have any concerns about mental health. There are local services near Camden and in Hertfordshire that your GP can refer you to or you can self-refer.
You can also:
- Contact someone in the Advice Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Access Togetherall, a free online mental health support platform that is available to all students 24/7. Togetherall is an online community dedicated to sharing your feelings and experiences and offers a wealth of resources and courses, from managing anxiety to improving your sleep.
Where to go for help:
The Samaritans are a fantastic source of support and can offer assistance 24 hours seven days a week on 116 123
Nightline is a confidential listening, support and information service run for students by students. They are available from 6pm to 8am every night during term.
Student Minds is the UK's student mental health charity and they work to empower students to develop the skills and knowledge to look after their own mental health and to help others do the same.
Mental Health Foundation offers a wealth of resources to access including podcasts for your wellbeing, a mental health A-Z, and information on mindfulness.
NHS Moodzone offers practical advice, interactive tools, videos and audio guides to help you feel mentally and emotionally better. Here are the links for their audio guides:
- Moodzone: low mood and depression audio guide
- Moodzone: anxiety control training audio guide
- Moodzone: sleep problems audio guide
- Moodzone: low confidence audio guide
- Moodzone: unhelpful thinking audio guide
I already have a mental health diagnosis, what support can I get?
In addition to your GP and specialist NHS support services; if you have a diagnosed mental health condition that has been present or is likely to be present, for 12 months or more, you are eligible for further support to help you manage your mental health condition alongside your study. This support is likely to include mentoring.
If you are a UK student, this support is provided by the via the Disabled Students Allowance. If you are an international student this support is provided by the RVC. For further information about how to apply for support for your mental health, please contact the Advice Centre: email@example.com
Helping a Friend
Making new friends is a big part of university life. Supporting friends who feel vulnerable or ask you for help can feel overwhelming at times and it's important you look after your own mental well-being too. Student Minds have a great resource to help you to help your friends. Take a look at their Look After Your Mate resource for practical tips and guidance. You can also contact a member of the Advice Centre team if you are concerned about a friend or would like support yourself - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical Wellbeing at Camden
Students who are not already registered with a doctor in the London area must register as soon as possible.
The James Wigg Practice is on site during Induction/Freshers week to make it easier for you to do so. The following local practices all provide access to a range of NHS services including medical and dental clinics, mental health therapies and urgent care provision.
The University of London Central Institutions Health Service will register students attending college close to the practice in late September and early October. Please follow this link for additional information regarding this practice: 20 Gower Street Practice
Students living at Mary Brancker House and College Grove may consider registering with: James Wigg Practice OR Caversham Group Practice
Call 111 for any out of hours urgent medical needs.
If you have a medical emergency call 999
The Camden Campus also has a gym on site which is free to use for all students after they have completed the required safety induction. Please check the RVC SAWC Facebook page for dates and times.
Camden students may also join one of the RVC's various sporting clubs and participate in training sessions and games at the Hawkshead campus on Wednesday afternoons. Please see the RVCSU webpage for more details.
In addition to the services available at the RVC, there are a range of fitness and wellbeing facilities accessible to students in the Camden area which include the following:
Student Central offers many opportunities to make friends, have fun and get the most out of university life
Trent Park riding stables in north London - easily accessible from Potters Bar (298 bus) and Camden (Cockfosters tube station)
Physical Wellbeing at Hawkshead
Students who are not already registered with a doctor in the Hawkshead Campus area must register as soon as possible.
All students must register with a local GP practice. Those living on campus or locally may wish to register with The Parkfield Medical Centre in Potters Bar. This practice comes on site once a term to offer you a chance to register and ask general questions. They also open early (7am) some weekday mornings and are open some Saturdays mornings so you can fit appointments around classes and rotations.
Other alternatives in Potters Bar are the Highview Medical Centre and the Annandale Medical Centre which share the same building.
Call 111 for any out of hours urgent medical needs.
If you have a medical emergency call 999
The Hawkshead campus is home to the new RVC SAWC which provides our students with up-to-date and modern equipment, facilities and classes. Keep up to date on their Facebook page for the latest news and activities.
In addition there are ample sports facilities at the Hawkshead Campus including tennis courts, as well as many sports clubs for you to join. Please visit the RVCSU section for more information.
There is also a local leisure centre which currently offers discounted Gym membership for RVC Students: Furzefield Leisure Centre
Helplines and Self Help
We have listed some resources under our Mental Wellbeing page but here are some additional self-help links that you may find useful.
If you are worried about yourself, another student, friend, housemate or family member and their mental health or other issues, please don't hesitate to talk to someone.
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) aims to get people to understand and get talking about depression and to help young people maintain good mental health and wellbeing. They offer a wealth of information and free resources, including online training programmes.
Self Help Guides produced by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Titles cover a range of mental health issues.
Vetlife provides independent, confidential and free help for everyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses and students. This charity provides a 24/7 phone and email helpline; professional mental health support; financial assistance; information and resources.
Vetsnet was created and designed to promote wellbeing amongst all members of the veterinary profession and to provide support and engagement with a variety of topics relevant to the community
Self Help Apps for Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mind in Brighton and Hove have listed a series of free and paid-for Apps that aim to help you build wellbeing and resilience. Be sure to check the suitability of each App, and if there are any cost implications or compatibility issues. While most of the apps listed are free to download, please be aware of potential in-app purchases. And be sure to consider your own online safety.
We also have a list of free mental health apps that have been approved by IAPT iCope clinicians. Many of our students have found these apps to be useful and practical. Please click here to Download.
Out of Hours Help
Please note that the Advice Centre does not provide crisis support or out of hours support. We offer appointments as quickly as we can to students who book an appointment with our team, but there is generally a waiting time to see us.
If you need urgent mental health support:
- Contact your GP surgery to request an emergency appointment (some GP surgeries are currently offering phone appointments only) If your GP surgery is not open, call the free NHS medical line on 111 for help accessing the right services
- You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 to talk to someone at any time, day or night, 24/7
- You can call Vet Life independent, confidential and free help for everyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses and students. Their charity provides a 24/7 phone and email helpline including professional mental health support on 0303 040 2551
- You can text Shout on 85258
- You can download the Stay Alive app, an app for those at risk of suicide and those worried about someone
- You can contact the Listening Place for face to face support and online and telephone support
- You can call PAPYRUS – Prevention of young suicide (Under 35) on 0800 068 4141
- In Camden? You can text or call Rethink NCL Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Support Service, they are able to offer 30 minute daily text or call support.
If you’re having thoughts about wanting to die, it’s important you tell someone.
Help and support is available from a range of free services and helplines who can help you right now. There is no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings – starting the conversation is what is important. Explore our Mental Health pages to learn more about the resources available including dedicated mental health resources and a link to join Togetherall which is a safe and anonymous community to support your mental health 24/7, trained professionals are available to support peer to peer conversations.
If you feel like you cannot keep yourself safe and you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or attempting to take your life:
Go to the closest Accident and Emergency (A&E Department)
- The nearest A&E department for Camden is University College London Hospital Accident and Emergency Ground Floor, 235 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BU
- The nearest A&E department for Hawkshead is Barnet Hospital, Wellhouse Lane, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 3DJ
- Call 999 to request an ambulance if you cannot go to the hospital yourself