Student Health & Support

We are working hard with the department to make sure this page be as well-informed as possible. If you think something is missing, you can get in touch with someone on the committee, or you can add the content yourself and file a pull request.

While we sort this page out though, you can use the Student Union’s JustAsk service, or the Student Health & Counselling Services. They are equipped to handle just about everything and anything!

If you’re in first or second year and would like advice on getting through the year, check out this thread of tips from students who’ve done it.

Table of Contents

  1. Who is this page for?
  2. What sort of problems does this include?
  3. What help is on offer?

Who is this page for?

This page is for all Computer Science students (whether at undergraduate, master student or post graduate level) at the University of Bristol. It also serves for students on joint honours courses like Computer Science and Electronics, or Computer Science and Maths. It aims to hold all of the information we need on where to seek support during our studies. In the past, it has been difficult to know exactly where to go if we have a problem that is affecting our studies, but is not strictly academic in nature. This page aims to solve that, and put all of the resources in one place.

What sort of problems does this include?

In short, anything that is having a negative impact on your ability to study, or otherwise do the things you want to do. This might include, but is definitely not limited to:

It is worth giving special mention to two subjects in particular. We do not hold them to be more or less important than others mentioned, but time has shown that they have been encountered a disproportionate amount both at Bristol, and in the wider Computer Science community.

Stress and Mental Health

Studying Computer Science is stressful. Multiple deadlines, exams and group projects all add up and take their toll. Many people are able to cope with this stress, but for some people it starts to affect their health outside of University and their ability to function properly. For some, it can lead to bouts of depression, and other mental illness. This has been a very taboo topic in the past, with a lot of misunderstanding and grief as a result. It is important that we create an environment within the computer science community at Bristol where people feel able to ask for help without worrying about stigma and how their peers will judge them. Similarly, if someone does open up to you, it is important that you are comfortable in knowing how to respond! There is a lot of advice on line on talking about mental health, and how to seek help. This page won’t seek to replicate that, but the services listed below have lots of information on it.

Nastiness In Online Discussion Spaces

We all know the internet has both wonderful corners and darker ones. Above all, we know the importance of respecting each other online, and not forgetting that there is a real human on the other end of a comment thread. Occasionally this does get forgotten, and nastiness ensues. If you ever feel uncomfortable in an online space or in person, then the department, students union and university have guidelines on how to deal with it. As a union affiliated society, CSS is bound by their safe space policy. Such policies are often drastically misunderstood and end up being ridiculed online. Bristol SU’s safe space policy can be read here so you know exactly what it does and does not say. There are also some guidelines available for how to interpret the safe space policy in a sensible way. Any problems you have yourself, or witness as a 3rd party, can be raised with your personal tutor or the students union.

Again, none of this is supposed to be a definitive list. At the end of the day, if you feel that your ability to study is being negatively affected by something, then the best thing you can do is seek help as soon as possible, and not bottle it up and hope it passes!

What help is on offer?

Personal Tutors

For most things, your personal tutor should be your first point of contact. They can usually point you in the right direction when it comes to seeking further help, and are best placed to help with problems that are academic in nature like friction with team mates or other coursework. It is their job to fight your corner in all matters between yourself and the department.

You should have been told who your personal tutor is, and have met them! If for any reason you don’t know who they are, then you can find out by looking at your profile on SAFE.

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

Senior Tutors

These tutors are “one up” from your personal tutor, and can be turned to for problems that for whatever reason, you can’t solve with your personal tutor. These might be academic or personal in nature.

According to the 2014/15 staff duties list, the three senior tutors for the Computer Science department are Conor Houghton and Elizabeth Oswald.

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

University Student Health Service

The Student Health Service offer a full NHS General Practice service for all University of Bristol students. They are the best place to go for any medical problems, mental or physical.

Student Health Services

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

University Student Counselling Service

This is a dedicated service for students who need support or counselling on a wide range of issues including mental health, family, relationships and general wellbeing. They offer both individual sessions, group sessions and workshops for specific problems. Group sessions & workshops cover things like specific illnesses, or methods of coping with stress and other problems. The service is confidential and free to use.

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

University Disability Services

A confidential service providing information, advice and guidance to prospective and current disabled students as well as to staff working with disabled students.

Disability Services Homepage

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

Bristol SU JustAsk

JustAsk aims to be a one-stop shop for student support, signposting students in the right direction where necessary but ensuring support throughout. The service is free, confidential, impartial and accessible to all students. With this in mind we have a range of ways to get advice and support.

The Just Ask Office is located on the 3rd Floor of the Students’ Union main building on Queens Road in Clifton. Drop by to ask a question or have a chat Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.

JustAsk Homepage · Email: [email protected]

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

Bristol Nightline

Nightline are a confidential and anonymous chat service for students at the University of Bristol. They are similar to the samaritans, with trained staff who are there only to listen and not to judge. They are open 8pm to 8am each night. If you find yourself up at two in the morning still writing code and struggling to cope, they are a wonderful friendly ear to your problems.

Nightline Homepage · Telephone: 01179 266 266

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

University Multi-faith Chaplaincy

The University of Bristol Multi-faith Chaplaincy seeks to serve students and staff of all faiths and none by:

Chaplaincy Homepage

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

The University offers a lot of support and information around sex, consent, and clearing up myths and misunderstandings. If you don’t know what the fuss is about, want to understand more about consent, or need support for yourself or a friend, then the University can help. It is nothing to be embarrassed about.

University Consent Homepage

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

Vulnerable Students Support

The Vulnerable Students’ Support Service coordinates support for our most vulnerable students who are, for whatever reason, having difficulties functioning or continuing their studies for non-academic reasons. They work closely with staff in academic schools and students are supported by the most appropriate service(s) from within Student Services and/or from the NHS. Wherever possible they prefer to provide pre-emptive support but are experienced in managing crises.

Examples of support include cases of students with undiagnosed or unsupported mental ill health including first incidents of psychosis, the consequences of addiction, those who are seemingly missing, victims of domestic violence, managing family estrangements, and many more.

University Vulnerable Students Homepage

Please refer to them for issues relating to any of the following:

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