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Advice and Counselling Service

Online self-help programmes

We all need a little help at some stage and it can feel so much easier to try and help ourselves rather than go and talk to someone. Luckily the web is a rich source of information and resources.

But don't forget that going and talking to someone isn't THAT hard. If you've tried these sites but think talking to a real person might help, book an appointment to see a counsellor.

Here are some of our favourite self-help websites based on ease of use, content, uniqueness and interactivity:

Living Life to the Full - free online life skills course based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for people feeling distressed or anxious. It helps you understand why you feel as you do and to make changes in your thinking, activities, sleep and relationships.

Start2 - harness your natural creativity and improve your wellbeing with art and creative activities (artistic ability NOT required!). Well-designed site offering hundreds of exercises (creative writing, photography, textiles, 'connect to nature') designed to help you feel closer to other people, feel more relaxed or deal with problems better.

Centre for Clinical Interventions - workbooks available to download on a wide range of problems including shyness, anxiety and perfectionism.

Calmzone - magazine style website for young men with articles to inspire, support and entertain. CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) teams up with DJs, artists, rappers and comedians to reach out to men on their own terms.

Students Against Depression - reading other students' stories can feed you with information, inspiration and hope. Students blog about their experiences of depression and what has worked for them.

Moodzone - excellent new NHS site for coping with stress, anxiety and depression. Take the Mood Self-Assessment Quiz, download a mood boosting podcast and get inspired by some real stories. 

MoodGYM - one of the first interactive websites designed to treat depression. It uses CBT to help you take more control of your thoughts to overcome depression and anxiety, and to develop skills to cope better with life. Designed for young people, it's dynamic, full of quizzes and interactive tools to track your progress.

Beat - online self-help packages for both bulimia and anorexia developed by Beat, the UK's eating disorder charity. Based on CBT, each package has 8 training sessions, uses video, audio and text and costs £65.

Be Mindful Online - an online course that shows you how to practice mindfulness in daily life. The course contains core elements of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy which have been clinically proven to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. It costs £60.


A range of free downloadable audio podcasts have been produced by the Mental Health Foundation which can help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing. You can listen to them on your computer or download them to your phone. Here are a few examples:

Wellbeing and positive thinking  (11 mins) - this podcast introduces positive thinking as a way of reducing anxiety and encouraging focus and goal setting

Stress and Relaxation: Quick Fix Breathing Exercise (5 mins) - this podcast can be listened to whenever you feel tense and is a simple way to calm your mind and body.

Wellbeing and Sleep: Full Works (5 mins) - this podcast is intended to listen to in bed to help you relax and get ready to go to sleep.


I had a black dog, his name was depression - A short animation showing what it is like to live with depression by writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone. Available to watch on YouTube.


SAM - a self-help app for anxiety developed by the University of the West of England specifically for students. A great app for anyone wanting to understand and track their anxiety which also offers tools to manage anxiety. Free to download from the Apple and Android app stores.

EMOODJI - an app designed by MIND to help students manage the ups and downs of university life. You can download links for Android and iOS.

ESC - an app designed to allow students and young people to answer their health questions in seconds.

Self Heal - Oxford Uni students have developed an app (for iPhone and Android) to help prevent self-harm in students.

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