U OK? is our university, college and sixth-form based project. It aims to support students in the transition from school or college, into higher education, independent living, and the world of work.

U OK? aims to give students the skills and knowledge they need to look after their mental health by providing a safe space to talk to peers.

What does it involve?

U OK? is a series of student-designed and student-led workshops delivered in schools, colleges and universities. 

We train second and third-year university students to become Mental Health Ambassadors, and deliver workshops to first-year university and final year school and college students. By doing this, the project aims to bypass the barriers many students put up when being taught such nuanced, personal topics by academic or support staff, who they feel are detached from their personal experiences. 

The workshops cover; 

  • Introduction to mental health
  • Health and Wellbeing 
  • Social Pressure
  • Financial Pressure
  • Academic Pressure 

U OK? builds on the success of our Peer Education Project, by applying mental health literacy and peer-led education to an older audience.

“Listening to others’ experiences in university helped me to realize that I’m not alone.”  - U OK? Workshop participant.
“I enjoyed meeting new people and the diversity of opinions” - U OK? Workshop participant.
“The workshops have helped me by reinforcing many of the positive habits which improve my own mental wellbeing, as well as learning new techniques.” - U OK? Mental Health Ambassador (student workshop facilitator).
“I found it motivating to see the students finding the workshops helpful and being able to provide them with different perspectives or new ideas for managing their mental health." - U OK? Mental Health Ambassador (student workshop facilitator).

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 prevention of difficulties before they arise, and the need for early intervention for those students who do experience mental health difficulties while at university.

We believe that there is a basic level of knowledge and skill that everyone needs 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.

If you are a school, college or university looking to take part, or would like more information - please email Lauren McConkey.

More resources

Behind the Books: Student - led campaign