Mental health and therapy in Cambridge

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, approximately 50 miles north of London. It has a population of 123,867 including 24,506 students at both the world-renowned University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University. Students, who are living away from home for the first time, and under a great deal of pressure to pass exams, often have mental health problems to deal with.

Cambridge is also at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies born out of the university. This too is an environment in which mental health can raise issues.

According to ONS statistics the East of England, which is where Cambridge is situated is relatively low on incidents surround mental health: in the East of England 16.9% of the population show signs of depression or anxiety, whereas in the North-East of England, that figure is 18.7%.

It is likely though that the reasons are quite different. Socio-economic factors are more contributory in the North-East, but in Cambridge, particularly at the University of Cambridge, the stresses are to do with status and academic pressure. Mental health problems have increasingly been a focus in recent years.

According to the Cambridge Tab, in a report on mental health two years ago, one student said:  “Cambridge are well aware of the pressure the students are under but they almost take pride in it. There is such a competitive drive when it comes to the exam period. Instead of making actual changes from the tradition they just focus on other means of alleviating its effect on students.

“It’s so so easy to get anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. It’s more positive than doing nothing. But it’s a bit stupid how they acknowledge the problem yet refuse to change the system or be more flexible.

“They just seem more worried about keeping up internationally with other universities and league tables. There is a fear that changing the system overall will result in a lower calibre of graduates.”

Also, as with many universities, there is a growing problem with alcohol abuse and wide-scale use of illegal drugs.

The university and colleges make counsellors available and have compiled a useful list of resources, many of which are available to non-students; you can view this here

Also in Cambridge mental health advice is available from these resources:

CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service is part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. Their aim is to make psychological therapies more accessible to people experiencing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Keep Your Head brings together reliable information on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people and adults across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

Arts and Minds is the leading arts and mental health charity in Cambridgeshire with a national reputation for contributing to the evidence base and policy developments around non clinical interventions for medical conditions. They deliver rprojects of national significance that deliver positive interventions for people of all ages who live with mental health problems in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and beyond.

There are also national services with Cambridge branches such as Mind and Samaritans. is a therapy site on which are listed therapists and counsellors who can provide therapy and help with mental health in Cambridge. You can read their individual profiles, to get an idea of their expertise and approaches, or use our questionnaire to see who will be matched to you and your concerns. You can also make therapy appointments and pay for them online if you wish.

lists for therapy and counselling