This article provides information about panic attacks and how to get appropriate support.
Anxiety is a very common issue, affecting many students, and for some students this can include the experience of panic attacks. It is common to try to deal with anxiety by avoiding the situations that feel like they are causing these feelings. Avoidance may feel like it gives temporary relief, but in fact it makes the problem increasingly worse - and can, in fact, be a factor in triggering panic attacks.
It is always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies - they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support. It is also worth talking to friends or other students to see if they can offer support eg. by going to classes together.
You can learn skills to help you deal with panic attacks, and there is a lot of other support available:
Courses and workshops
The Student Wellbeing Service hosts a range of workshops and courses for learning skills to tackle common issues like stress and anxiety.
We offer a workshop specifically focusing on panic as well as our popular 'Keep Calm' course, both of which runs several times a term. Other relevant workshops might include exam anxiety, procrastination, perfectionism, and being a better friend to yourself. You may also find it helpful to attend a course on mindfulness. See our course and workshop programme to find out more.
All students also have free access to a set of online courses, called SilverCloud, to learn evidence-based strategies for tackling common issues. The 'Space from Anxiety' course might offer a good starting point. These courses can be accessed confidentially and completed independently, in your own time and at your own pace. Find out more and register directly at the Online Resources article.
Student Wellbeing Service
The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns and is available to every student at the University, free of charge. All kinds of students find their way to us from all over the University and for all sorts of reasons. We often support students to deal with panic attacks.
The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, counselling, and mental health advice. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once – we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs. In addition to the individual support we offer, we also liaise closely with local NHS services and can arrange for you to access the NHS Talking Change talking treatment service via initial sessions on campus.
To contact us or register for support see our article on accessing support from the Student Wellbeing Service.
Talking Change is a free NHS service offering supported self-help and talking therapies (mainly cognitive behaviour therapy) for people registered with a Portsmouth GP and with difficulties with anxiety or depression. Self-referral is possible by completing the online referral, or your GP can refer you. You can also access Talking Change on campus, via the Student Wellbeing Service.
The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:
If you would like to research more around the topic of anxiety and panic, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self help resources: