Extra adjustments

Feeling different to other students, for whatever reason, can in itself be stressful – and depression thrives on isolation! 

Extra challenges

Some students arrive with extra challenges facing them and extra adjustments to make to get the most out of their student experience. In addition to any practical challenges, feeling different to other students, for whatever reason, can in itself be stressful – and depression thrives on isolation! Try to make the most of the student support services offered by your institution and challenge any depressed thinking habits which may making things even harder than they already are.

Mature students

Many universities and colleges provide resources and tailored support for mature students, recognising that they may face additional challenges such as family commitments. The experience and maturity you bring when returning to study after a break are usually enormous assets. However, some mature students bring with them baggage from earlier learning experiences and can be especially vulnerable to over- anxious and depressed thinking habits – particularly perfectionism and ‘control freakery’ resulting from fear of failure. Understanding and challenging these habits can clear the way to a happier student experience. Make use of any specific mature student support services, such as mentoring, offered by your institution – it can be really helpful to meet other mature students.

International students

International students face multiple extra challenges in adjusting to a new culture and often having to operate using a second or third language. Being an international student can be an exciting and richly rewarding experience. However, many international students underestimate the level of stress these extra challenges will raise, leaving them potentially vulnerable to depression. For example, many are used to being high achieving students and may have unrealistic expectations that the cultural adjustments won’t have any impact on their academic success. Take culture shock seriously – read this booklet and make use of the resources offered by your institution for supporting international students.


Disability legislation means that universities and colleges are required to pay serious attention to accessibility. Disabled students can usually call upon the services of a wide range of student support personnel, in addition to any dedicated disability office. However, students may still encounter disabling procedures and/or attitudes and other extra challenges facing them. All of this can be very tiring and dispiriting – fertile ground for depression to take hold. Indeed, depression can be seen as a disabling force in its own right. Whether you are affected by depression alone, or any other disability, check what arrangements should be in place for you and get ideas for further help from your learning support office.