Published on: Thursday 5th March 2020

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been working to reach out to local students, becoming the first provider of NHS talking therapies on campus at the University of Surrey. 

Most mental health problems develop by the age of 24. This means that mental health can be particularly vulnerable during university. In recent years increasing numbers of students have been coming forward to seek help for their mental health. University Mental Health Day, which takes place on Thursday 5 March, aims to raise awareness of student mental health and the help available for those who are struggling to cope.

The Mind Matters service is open to anyone aged 18 or over living in Surrey and experiencing mild to moderate mental ill-health such as anxiety and depression.  Treatments are based on talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which explore and change how people think about their lives, and aim to reduce unhelpful patterns of behaviour. 

People can refer themselves online at  or be referred by a health professional such as a GP. Typically six to eight 1:1 sessions are offered through face to face sessions at one of Surrey and Borders’ community hubs or by telephone. 

The service is now also available from the Centre for Wellbeing at the University of Surrey every Friday from 9am to 5pm. 

Dr Gisela Unsworth, Clinical Services Manager at Mind Matters Surrey said: “We know that being at university can raise a number of unique challenges to mental health and wellbeing which is why we have worked closely with the University of Surrey to bring this service directly to students on the university campus.

“Mind Matters offers a free, confidential service to help people manage issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems and our sessions can easily fit in around studies and other commitments.

“Being based at the university Centre for Wellbeing means we are in close contact with the other health and wellbeing services that are based there so can accept referrals from, or refer people to, other support services depending on the needs of the individual.”

Laura Smythson, Head of Wellbeing and Welfare at the University of Surrey, said: “This kind of partnership with the NHS plays an important part in enhancing the range of wellbeing and welfare services we can offer to students. This type of talking therapy is proven to help support people suffering from anxiety and low moods. We look forward to our students benefitting from the Mind Matters service”.

Surrey and Borders will also be holding an event at the University of Surrey for students and Trust members, to raise awareness of local mental health services, including Mind Matters, and to provide a practical session on dealing with stress and enhancing mental wellbeing. The event will take place 6pm - 8.15pm at the university in November (exact date and location will be confirmed in August and available at  

University Mental Health Day is run jointly by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity and the University Mental Health Advisors Network, a network of mental health specialists working in the Higher Education sector providing support to students experiencing mental health difficulties. Find out how you can get involved here: