Your wellbeing is your mental, physical and emotional health and we want to ensure that you're having the best time at University; be that with your studies or your personal life.
Making sure you're keeping yourself healthy is an important part of your wellbeing and there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure you stay free from colds, flu's and infections. Check out Public Health England for more information on staying well as a student and read the PHE Fact sheet.
We recommend registering with a GP as soon as you arrive at Middlesex or the UK. It's important not to wait before you're ill to do this.
If you're not sure what health service you need, download the Ask NHS app (available on Android and Apple) to get guidance on the best service for you.
Sign up to HealthMatters@MDX, our free, wellbeing messaging service and get supportive, practical tips straight to your phone. The messages are timed with where you are in your student journey and can help you make the most of your time at university. Get support on settling in, eating and sleeping well, mental and physical health and budgeting your money.
While on campus, the security team should be your first point of call if you become ill or are concerned about your safety. You can call the security office on 020 8411 6200.
If you're living in halls, the staff are there to support you too.
If you haven't, speak to your current GP about getting vaccinated as soon as possible. We offer the MMR vaccination at our September Wellbeing Festival but it's best not to wait for this if you're concerned.
Your sexual health is another vital part of your wellbeing and is nothing to be embarrassed about. Just like your physical and mental health, you can take care of it through self awareness and taking precautions. However, if you're worried, there's plenty of support for you.
If you are sexually active, it's a good idea to be tested regularly for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). You can get tested for STIs at Sexual Health Clinics and certain pharmacies. They can also provide information and advice on sex, contraception and personal relationships.
Sexual Health London offer an online testing service which may mean that you don’t need to attend a Sexual Health Clinic in person.
If you've had unprotected sex or the contraception failed, you can get emergency contraception for free from your GP, most NHS walk in centres, sexual health clinics, some hospital A&E departments and Brook centres (if you are under 25). Certain pharmacies also offer emergency contraception but there may be a charge for it.
There are many charities and companies who also offer sexual health advice. FPA is one such charity that provides information around sexual health, relationships and topics such as consent, disability and sex.
Brook centres offers free sexual health information and contraception to people under 25.
As well as STIs, its also important to safeguard against unwanted pregnancy. Using contraception is the best way to stay safe although they are not 100% effective so make sure you understand how your particular one works.
Taking a home pregnancy test can tell you if you're pregnant. You can buy pregnancy tests from most pharmacies or supermarkets or get one for free from sexual health clinics and Brook centres.
If the test is positive, you should make an appointment with your GP who will be able to confirm the result, explain the next steps and talk you through your options going forward.
Pregnancy can have an effect on your studies, completing placements, taking exams or meeting deadlines. We've created a quick guide to explain the services and support you can get while at university.
We're here to support your mental health and wellbeing and if you feel that you might need a little more support, we have many ways to help you out.
You can refer yourself for support to the Counselling and Mental Health service or pop in for a chat at Sunny Hill House between 2-3pm, Mondays to Fridays.
Sign up to HealthMatters@MDX, our free wellbeing messaging service. You'll get a text each week tailored to you and what you're up at university.
You can also download Fika, an emotional fitness app which is free to MDX students. It can help develop your emotional fitness, your confidence, and your ability to manage change and stress.
Silvercloud is an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme, again free for you to use, and has several modules you can choose to work through from Positive Body Image, Stress to Depression and Anxiety.
If you're immediately concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a fellow student you should follow the Care and Concern procedure.
It's important that you try to keep a good sleep routine, especially around important deadlines and exams. You might feel tempted to pull an ‘all nighter’ before an exam but research shows you need between 6 to 9 hours of sleep to function properly. The amount of sleep you get also effects your ability to properly encode memories i.e. what you've just spent the day studying!
Being away from home can be the perfect opportunity to indulge in new foods and feed your sweet tooth. But just like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet can make a world of difference to your studies. Getting a healthy diet doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be full of just salads and veg. If you're on the hunt for some easy and healthy recipes and advice, Nourished Life and Eat Well have some good pointers.
We strongly recommend that you ensure that you have received vaccinations for Meningitis and Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) before you join Middlesex. If you have not been vaccinated, you should speak to your GP about getting vaccinated as soon as possible. You may be able to receive a vaccination for MMR at our annual Wellbeing Festival in September, however we recommend that you do not delay and to seek vaccinations as soon as possible.
Public Health England offer more information on vaccinations and staying well as a university student here, as well as further information in their Measles guide, Meningitis guide, and Mumps guide. Meningitis Now also offer more advice on symptoms and how to stay safe.
Our information leaflet also has more information on Meningitis here
If you have had unprotected sex in the last 5 days and you would like to avoid pregnancy, you should seek emergency contraception. The sooner you seek emergency contraception the better.
If you think that you might be pregnant, the first thing to do is to take a pregnancy test. You can buy pregnancy tests from most Pharmacies but you may be able to get pregnancy tests for free from NHS walk in centres and sexual health clinics. It is best to call ahead to ensure that pregnancy tests are available.
If the test is positive, you should make an appointment with your GP who will be able to confirm the result. You will also be able to have a conversation with your GP about how you feel about this result.
The NHS has more information here (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/
We are here to support your mental health and wellbeing during your time at Middlesex. There are some things you can do to help yourself too:
However, we are also here for you if you feel that you might need a little more support with your mental health. You can refer yourself for support to the Counselling and Mental Health service using the link on the Counselling and Mental Health webpage. They also offer drop ins at Sunny Hill House between 2-3pm, Mondays to Fridays where you can just pop in for a chat.
If you are immediately concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a fellow student you should follow the Care and Concern procedure).
If you are in need of emergency help you should go to your closest Accident and Emergency department at a hospital or call 999. There is more information of crisis help here (https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/support/counselling-and-mental-health/crisis-and-emergency-help)
It is important to take care of your sexual health through your life, but particularly at university when you may decide to be sexually active or be exposed to new partners. Sexual health is nothing to be embarrassed about, and just like physical and mental health is something for you to take care of properly through self-care and using precautions. However, if you are worried about your sexual health or have not taken the right precautions, there is lots of support out there.
If you are sexually active, it is a good idea to be tested regularly for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). You can get tested for STIs as well as receive information and advice on your sexual health at Sexual Health Clinics and some Pharmacies. You don’t need to be sexually active to attend a Sexual Health Clinic though. You can go to receive information on sex, contraception (which some people may be advised to take for reasons other than contraception such as managing their periods), and personal relationships.
You may feel embarrassed about going to a sexual health clinic. But remember that health professionals are just that – professionals – and they are there to help you. You can search for your closest Sexual Health Clinic or Pharmacy which offers sexual health services.
You may be able to order a free STI testing kit online through Sexual Health London which may mean that you don’t need to attend a Sexual Health Clinic in person.
Brook offers free sexual health information and contraception to under 25s. The closest branch to campus is Brook Euston.
Some charities also offer sexual health advice. FPA is a charity which champions people’s right to sexual and reproductive health and wellness. They offer information and advice offers around sexual health, relationships and topics such as consent and disability and sex.
See what we’re doing at the university to Change the Culture around sexual harassment and disclosure.
If you have had unprotected sex and you have the possibility of becoming pregnant, you should speak to a professional about emergency contraception. You can usually get emergency contraception for free from your GP, most NHS walk in centres, sexual health clinics, some hospital A&E departments and Brook (if you are under 25). You can also usually get emergency contraception from your local pharmacy but you may have to pay. Always call ahead first to ensure that a service will be able to offer you the emergency contraception. You can search for your closest NHS sexual health service here.
Don’t forget that you should still seek professional advice if you have had any other kind of unprotected sex to check for sexually transmitted infections.
It is recommended twelve weeks before travelling outside of the UK, you should contact a Travel Clinic to find out if there are any vaccinations or travel precautions you need to take. It is important to get immunised, even if the vaccinations aren't compulsory, and take extra caution with food and water whilst abroad.
Pregnancy can have an effect on your studies, and depending on when you are due to give birth, this may clash with deadlines or exams. We have put together a handy guide to managing your studies whilst pregnant here (https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0027/156447/Pregnancy-Help-and-Advice.pdf
While it is not uncommon to spend some of your time at university staying up late, it is important that you try to keep a sleep routine most of the time, particularly around important deadlines and exams. You might feel tempted to pull an ‘all nighter’ before an exam, but research shows that most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep to function properly. The amount of sleep you get also effects your ability to properly encode memories i.e. to remember what you have spent the day revising or studying!
Our library is open 24/7 as we recognise that many of our students may commute and have other commitments outside of their studies which means that they may need to study at varying hours. However, we would encourage you to try to seek balance with your studies and to make sure that you are getting enough sleep and rest.
The NHS has more information on sleep here (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/ but if you feel that you are still struggling you should speak to your GP (‘https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/support/health-and-personal-safety/registering-for-health-service).
To remain well during your time at university, you need to make sure that you eat a balanced diet. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and there are lots of ways you can cook on a budget. If you live in halls, your Residents Assistants may well plan some kitchen time for your flats! If you are on the hunt for some easy and healthy recipes and advice, https://www.nourishedlife.co.uk/ and www.eatwell.gov.uk have some good pointers.
If you are on campus, Chartwells offer a variety of food options
What are the advantages of good nutrition?
- More energy
- Prevent unnecessary weight gain
- Less chance of health problems in the future
- Less chance of becoming unwell
- Less chance of constipation
What does a healthy balanced life really mean?
- Eating regularly
- Eating lots of fruit and vegetables
- Eating a wide variety of foods
- Trying to eat less salt
- Cutting down on saturated fats and sugars
- Drinking plenty of water
- If you exclude certain food groups, ensuring that you compensate for this and carefully plan your meals to ensure that you are still receiving the right balance of vitamins and food groups
- With some planning you can eat cheap and healthy meals on a tight budget
- Make a shopping list before you go and shop
- Maybe shop and cook with a friend who is more experienced than you in the kitchen
- Watch your waste - when you buy foods that go off quickly, plan your meals carefully so it gets eaten or frozen straight away
- Vary your meals otherwise you will get bored of eating and cooking the same things over and over again
No time to cook or can't cook?
- Shop at the local markets for discounted fruit, vegetables and meat bargains
- Buy in bulk - it's usually cheaper. You can freeze these and use as required
- Use cheaper cuts of meat for curries and casseroles and add extra vegetables and beans to make the meal go further.
- Work out how much you are going to spend on food each week and stick to it
- Go back to basics - processed food is expensive because you are paying for the processing! It's much cheaper and often more nutritious to buy basic ingredients and make your own meals
- Compare prices - remember to shop around. You'll often save by doing this
- Don't be seduced by special offers - if you're not going to use it - why buy it! Keep an eye out for supermarket specials of staple foods and stock up on them when they are cheap. Items such as pasta and rice have a long shelf life
What could you have in your food cupboard?
You need to stock your cupboard and fridge with easy to cook ingredients. Suggestions of meals include:
- Soups - easy to make and nutritious especially if you add a lot of vegetables (fresh frozen or canned). You can use your own herbs and spices to canned or packet soups and even add your leftovers to it!
- Pasta and rice – they’re quick and easy to cook and prepare.
- Bread is a good source of carbohydrate. Choose wholemeal bread rather than white as it is more nutritious and filling
- Potatoes - Baking potatoes are great value and yet versatile
- Porridge oats - you can buy 1kg bag of porridge for under £1 and it's a really filling meal to start the day with. You could add some fresh or dried fruit for variety
- Beans and lentils - cheap to buy and a small amount goes far! Canned varieties can make a quick and nutritious addition to soups and stews. Lentils and beans can be used as a main meal with vegetables added. Baked beans on toast is a classic and is actually a very healthy dish, especially if you use wholemeal bread, and low fat spread
- Vegetables and fruit – you can add vegetables to curries, soups, stir fries. Canned and frozen vegetables can be used as additions to last minute meals. Fruit is excellent for a quick nutritious snack. We should be eating at least 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Condiments - add taste and flavour to your cooking. Keep a selection of dried herbs, spices, curry powder, vinegars, tomato sauce, soy sauce and stock cubes in your cupboard
- Tinned tomatoes - these can form the base of all sorts of sauces, are low in fat and count as a portion of your fruit and vegetables
Study & Exams healthy eating
Healthy eating is especially important when you are under stress. When you are rushing to meet deadlines it's easy to skip meals and forget about healthy eating. However this is the time your body needs good nutrition the most. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and take some water into your exams.
Fine in moderation, but excessive drinking can affect your work, social and personal relationships. If you're worried about your drinking levels, call Drinkline on 0800 917 8282 - Mon-Fri 9am-11pm, Sat/Sun 6-11pm. The NHS has further information and advice.
Drugs are unpredictable and addictive. If you need to talk to someone about drugs, the National Drugs Helpline is free phone and open 24 hours: 0800 776600. The NHS has further information and advice. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our counsellors in confidence.