Location: England

U OK? is our innovative programme transforming the lives of young people aged 16 to 25. We work with colleges and universities across England to empower students to take their well-being into their own hands.

We design and deliver bespoke training and materials to enable students to take a lead in supporting their peers in their college or university, through activities focused on issues that affect young people's mental health.

By using peer delivery, the project:

  • Breaks down barriers
    “I haven’t spoken about [my mental health] to anyone before so to let it out felt great!” U OK? participant
  • Creates a sense of community
    “Listening to others’ experiences in university helped me to realise that I’m not alone.” U OK? participant
  • Increases understanding of mental health and how to manage it
    “You learn so much about how you deal with your own mental health - things you do to ease times of stress, what you could be doing better, how to deal with somebody who comes to you about their feelings” U OK? facilitator

By equipping students with the knowledge and confidence to support their peers with their mental health, the impact can reach the whole student community. Starting conversations that haven't happened before. Raising awareness, breaking down stigma.

U OK logo

Why is it important?

We know that 75% of mental health problems start before the age of 24 and that the move out of statutory and further education into higher education can have a detrimental effect on student mental health.

Young adults show lower rates of help-seeking and say a lack of confidence and worries of being judged as reasons behind their reluctance to seek help for mental health problems when they arise. University and college students' mental health is often affected by the experience of multiple changes, such as changing home environments, moving away from friends and family, becoming financially independent, and the need for increased self-reliance.

Mental health problems at university are increasing while mental health services on campus are reportedly oversubscribed, indicating a strong case for preventing difficulties before they arise and the need for early intervention for students who experience mental health difficulties while at university.

We believe that everyone needs a basic level of knowledge and skill around their own mental health. By teaching every student about mental health, we hope that they will be equipped to meet the challenges they and their friends will encounter in life.

A group of smiling students sitting around a table in a college library talking

More information

If you are a school, college or university looking to take part or would like more information, please email mcar%61%[email protected] " rel="nofollow"> [email protected] .

Behind the Books

The #BehindtheBooks university campaign aims to help university students talk about their mental health, to realise when they’re struggling, to provide tips on ways to cope and to normalise the ups and downs of uni life.
Learn more about the campaign
Illustration of someone looking over from behind a stack of books on a teal background
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