If you're experiencing a personal issue, or know someone who is, SUBU Advice can listen to your situation and signpost you to services that can help.

We can advise students on the support available at BU and outside the University, taking a holistic view of your circumstances to ensure you get all the help you need. Our Advice Workers can listen to your issue, hear what you have to say and provide you with all the options available to help you take a step forward in resolving the issue. We can make phone calls to other services with you, be a central point of contact between services internally and externally to BU and support you with academic procedures such as Exceptional Circumstances.

Reaching out for help can be difficult. Taking the courage to approach a service is the first step to resolving your issue.

Alcohol and Drugs

Addiction and dependency is often linked to mental health issues. You may have started to use drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings or manage a difficult situation.


If you are finding that your use of alcohol is having an impact on your health and therefore your studies, come and talk to an Advice Worker. We can guide you through BU Policies (e.g. Exceptional Circumstances) and other sources of support for you. If you are concerned by your alcohol consumption, or that of a friend or family member, there are many sources of advice and support you can access.

Specialist sources of support:

The NHS website has information about how to recognise you have a problem with alcohol and also has a search mechanism for finding local services that may be able to help you.

DrinkAware is an independent charity which works to reduce alcohol misuse and to help people make better choices about drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous is for people who want to stop drinking and who need support to do so. They have a free helpline – 0800 9177 650 or you can email them at Al-anon is a support group for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking and hold regular meetings where you can share your experiences of living with alcoholism.

For further information, help and advice, check out FRANK and Rehab 4 Addiction.


There may be significant consequences if you choose to engage in drug use. The impact on your health and wellbeing is not to be ignored and if you decide to take drugs you should be fully aware of the potential ramifications. Drug use is illegal and as such any student studying or registered at the University could be subject to disciplinary measures if they are found to be guilty of misconduct. This includes the use and/or supply of drugs on University or SUBU premises or any associated third party premises (e.g university allocated accommodation). If you are in this position you can come to SUBU Advice and we will support you through the process.

Specialist sources of support:

If you have been charged with a drug offence and require legal advice, Release can help. Families Anonymous provides support services for families and friends of drug users. There are 50 groups throughout the UK offering help and support to members based on the 12 step programme and they also offer a phone support line. UK Narcotics Anonymous provides a helpline and regular self help meetings for addicts who have a desire to stop using and who wish to support each other in remaining drug free. The Re-Solv helpline provides information and support for people concerned about solvent or volatile substance abuse problems.

BU has further information on their website.

Bullying and Cyber-bullying

Bullying can have a significant impact on an individual's mental health and reaching out for support may feel difficult. There are several sources of support available and things you can do to take control of the situation.

If you are being bullied because of your disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, this is considered to be a hate crime. SUBU Advice offers a confidential and safe space to talk about what has happened and identify the options available to you.

Cybersmile is a multi award-winning cyber-bullying charity committed to tackling all forms of online bullying and hate campaigns.

If you are being affected by issues such as cyber-bullying, sexting or online harassment, get in touch with Cybersmile for guidance and support.


Helpline number: 0800 783 1113

Ditch the Label is an online anti-bullying charity.

Helpline number 01273 201129.

Helpline number: 0808 800 2222.


SUBU Advice is registered as a Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre. This means we can either support you to report any hate crimes or hate incidents or report them on your behalf.

At SUBU Advice we would encourage you to report any hate crimes or incidents, no matter how small and we are here to support you to do so. If you have been a victim or witnessed a hate crime we can report this anonymously as a third party if you would prefer to not share your details.

Hate Crime

The term 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the victim has been targeted by hostility due to their perceived disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. Hate crime is a criminal offence and if reported, can lead to prosecution against the perpetrator.

Hate Incidents

A hate incident is when someone has been targeted due to their perceived protected characteristics, but the incident does not constitute a criminal offence. Hate incidents can be reported to the police the same way as a hate crime.

If you think you may have experienced or witnessed hate crime you can report by:

  • In an emergency, dial 999
  • If it’s not an emergency but you are afraid the situation may escalate, dial 101
  • For anonymous reporting, contact Crimestoppers
  • Alternatively, report the incident online to Dorset Police using the ‘Do it online’ function.

Alternatively, you can report via SUBU Advice as we are a Third Party Reporting Centre. You can choose to remain anonymous when reporting.

BU has an online reporting system and Victim support has an online chat function and helpline.

If you would like support with any of the above or just want to know your options, come and talk to us.


As a student with a dependent, you’ll be juggling university work, family and looking after yourself. We understand that your degree is just one part of your busy schedule and that knowing what financial support is available can feel like a minefield. Student parents can apply for funding in addition to their Student Finance loan to help with childcare costs and the additional costs associated with having a family. It’s important to note that the funding available may depend on what year you started your course.

Student Finance

In addition to the Maintenance Loan, and depending on household income, some student parents are eligible to apply for three additional grants via Student Finance. These include:


As a student parent you are entitled to apply for benefits to supplement your income. What you receive will depend on your individual circumstances. Contact us to ascertain exactly what you can apply for. Unfortunately we cannot advise you as to how much you may receive as we are not trained assessors.

Universal Credit has been created to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It has been brought in to replace six existing benefits: Income based JSA, Income based ESA, Income support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. 

Child Benefit is paid to those who are responsible for a ‘qualifying young person’. It is not means-tested and both part-time and full-time students can apply. Be aware that the benefit cap limits how much benefit an individual can claim when aged between 16-64 years of age.

What could I be entitled to? provides an anonymous and free calculator to help you work out what benefits you can claim.

Pregnancy, maternity and paternity

Whilst still active on your course, you can apply for the BU Financial Support Fund via AskBU and there may be some trusts and charities that could aid as well. Check out Turn2Us to search for grants offered by trusts and charities.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Maternity Allowance (MA) may be available to you, depending on your work history. If you do not qualify for SMP then you may be able to claim MA. If you don’t qualify for Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity pay and are unemployed or on a low income, you might be able to claim Income Support whilst you’re pregnant. If you have a pregnancy-related illness and you are unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay, then you may be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance. More information about benefit entitlement when you are pregnant or have a baby can be found on the Money Advice Service website. The website also includes some useful money management tools such as an interactive money timeline, money saving tips for baby shopping and managing family finances when you've had a baby.

In addition to these benefits, some lone parents can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 if there are no other children aged under 16 years in the household. If you are part of a couple, you can claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant if one of you receives a qualifying benefit. There is a deadline of three months after the baby is born to make a claim, so familiarise yourself with the process and apply as soon as possible.

You may also be eligible for the Healthy Start food vouchers and vitamins. Healthy Start provides food vouchers and vitamins to those who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years of age and you or your family receive income support/income-based jobseekers allowance, child tax credit or universal credit.

BU has more information about pregnancy. Also check out the STUDENT MATERNITY, ADOPTION AND PARENTS POLICY AND PROCEDURE.

Be sure to check out SUBU’s Student Parents Group for meet-ups and tips.

Eating Disorders

If you feel your relationship with food is having a negative impact on your life or a friend’s, then there are several sources of support available.

SUBU Advice can point you in the right direction for specialist advice and support and, where necessary, advise you on relevant BU Policies and Procedures, e.g. Exceptional Circumstances.

Specialist sources of support

NHS UK have some helpful information on their website, including types of disorders, warning signs and how to get help for yourself or another. Beat Eating Disorders has a dedicated student helpline and can provide advice and support over the phone and via webchat.

BU has further information on their webpages:


Whether you gamble online, at a casino or at events, compulsive gambling can have a significant impact on your relationships, health and finances.

If gambling has become part of your everyday life and you are unable to stop, you should consider whether you have a problem with gambling. There is lots of support available if you would like to stop.

Do I have a problem with gambling?

If you’re unsure if your gambling should be a concern then you can complete the Gamcare self-assessment tool: How safe is your gambling? It takes a few minutes to complete and it's free and anonymous. You can also learn more about gambling on the Gamcare website.

Specialist sources of support

If you are a friend or family member affected by someone else’s gambling then GamAnon can support you.

Come talk to SUBU Advice if you need more guidance on where to start.

BU have further information about gambling and gaming awareness.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Being away from support, the pressure to succeed, feeling alone… there are any number of reasons, and sometimes no logical reason, why people experience mental health difficulties. It can be distressing, especially if you feel isolated, or if you don’t know what’s happening. But on another level, it’s a lot like having a physical health problem. If you ignore it, things can get worse.

BU’s website has a useful section with links for finding out more about mental health, support and treatment that’s available:


Get urgent support

Are you experiencing feelings of distress or despair right now? Here are a few places to get support:

Student Assistance Programme

Speak to an adviser or counsellor round the clock for mental health guidance and support:

Freephone: 0800 028 3766



Connection is an NHS helpline for non-emergency mental health issues:

Freephone: 0800 652 0190


The Retreat

Based in Bournemouth and Dorchester, The Retreat provides a safe space if you feel that you are reaching crisis point and need help.

Supporting Someone Else

We know supporting friends isn't easy; it can be hard to know what to say and when to say it.

Student Minds have written a great guide on how to support others, available on this link: Look After Your Mate Guide - A Student Minds Resource.

When supporting a friend, remember to make time for yourself by keeping up with your usual interests and hobbies. If you find it tough worrying about your friend, seek support from someone removed from the situation. Also, set boundaries; you may not be able to help your friend with everything but you can help restore their confidence by allowing them to do things for themselves.

To find out more visit Student Minds - Tips to look after yourself.


It can be difficult to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship, especially when it’s your own. Everyone deserves to feel safe and loved in a relationship.

Relationship abuse does not always involve the use or threat of physical violence. If you notice a pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, it may mean you are in an unhealthy relationship. It is possible you may also be experiencing violence and abuse.

Domestic abuse

Healthy relationships are about respect. Where there are “incidents or patterns of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour”, this is not respect. This behaviour may be domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, by anyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or age, and can happen in different ways.

Physical abuse

It is not okay when someone physically hurts you, for example by hitting, pinning you down or pinching.

Emotional abuse

Abuse is not only physical, it can be emotional too. Emotional abuse is when someone uses emotions to control another, and it can make them feel less confident or scared. Some of the warning signs include name-calling, shouting, blackmail, or being blamed when something goes wrong. Sometimes you and your partner may disagree which is normal, but you should not constantly feel upset in your relationship. Healthy relationships consist of trust and support.


Being forced to change your behaviour is abusive and can include being told what to wear, that you cannot speak to friends or family, or that you cannot study. Sometimes it is good to spend time with your friends apart from your partner. Control can also happen through technology. If your partner listens to your phone calls without permission, monitors your social media profiles or shows an intimate picture of you to other people without your consent, these can be abusive acts.

Sexual Consent

Healthy relationships are consensual relationships. In sexual relationships, consent means that both people agree to take part.

It is always up to you whether or not you give consent, and it is your right not to give consent for any reason. If you have had sex with someone before, you do not have to have sex again. If you are in a relationship or married, you too have a right to not give consent. You can also withdraw consent during sex if you change your mind. If any person forces another to engage in sexual activity, the person that is forcing is committing sexual assault or rape, which is illegal.

Consent is comfortable.

Consent is retractable.

Consent is active.

Consent should always be clear.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual misconduct, you can find out about the resources available to you here.


Specialist Sources of Support

Victim Support have some really useful information on their website and you can also contact them for support.

Consent is everything -

Galop works with & for LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence

NCDV is a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation

Safety and Personal Protection

Staying safe and looking out for your friends is really important.

Here are a few basic tips for when you're out and about:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know where you are going and how to get there. If you are catching a bus or train, find out the times to avoid waiting for long periods at bus stops or stations. If you are planning to take a taxi home, then either book it before going out, or take the number of a licensed cab company with you.
  • When walking, stick to busy, well-lit streets whenever possible. Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly-lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks.
  • If you do have to pass danger spots, think about what you would do if you felt threatened. The best idea is to head for a public place where you know there will be other people, for example a petrol station?or pub.
  • Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them and whenever practical walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid curb crawlers.
  • Stay alert and keep your mind on your surroundings - remember if you're wearing headphones or chatting on a mobile phone, you will not hear trouble approaching.
  • If you think you're being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road turning and look to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area, tell people what is happening and call 999.
  • Try not to keep all your valuables in one place. Instead, place valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket or use a money belt.
  • Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets.
  • If you drive: avoid isolated car parks; make sure that you have enough petrol to get home; keep your doors and windows locked when in your car alone at night and have your keys ready when walking up to your car.
  • Consider carrying a personal safety alarm, which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker, giving you vital seconds to get away.?Personal alarms are available to purchase from the SUBU Shop on Talbot Campus or speak to SUBU Advice who can provide you with one.

Beware of scams: sometimes you might receive texts, emails or a phone call from people pretending to be someone they aren't (e.g. Student Loans Company, your bank). Be vigilant - these are usually scams from people trying to steal your money. They may appear genuine if they have some personal information about you.

  • Never give out your personal details, log-in details, passwords or bank account details via email or over the phone, or confirm that any details they already have are correct.
  • Never transfer money to an account that you don’t recognise.
  • Never click on any links, open attachments or reply to a suspicious email.
  • If you’re unsure if a phone call is genuine, hang up and tell them you will call them back. Look up a number you’ve found from a reputable source (official letter, official website) rather than using a number that they give you.


BU have some information about staying safe on and off campus:

You can also report an accident or incident through the BU website:

If you require support with this pop in and see an Advisor who will be able to assist you with this. Please note this form can be filled in anonymously.