Keeping Well and Staying Safe


If you have problems of a personal nature, a member of the Counselling team will see you so you can talk about whatever is bothering you. It doesn’t matter how small or large you think the problem is – the Counselling Service is there to help you find ways of dealing with it. Everything that is discussed is kept completely confidential.

UCB wants you to enjoy your time studying and if at any time you feel that you cannot talk to friends, family or staff concerned with your course, then maybe the Counselling Service can help you. The counsellor is not able to offer a magic solution, but will listen carefully and help you to arrive at a better understanding of the situation. The process of exploring thoughts, feelings and behaviour will often bring some relief and may enable you to make changes for yourselves.

There are many reasons why someone should use the Counselling Service. These may be directly linked to UCB life – such as difficulties with settling in or anxieties about your course of study. Issues such as depression, anxiety, decision-making, self-esteem, relationships, eating disorders, bereavement and sexuality are also dealt with. The Counselling Room is located in the Student Information Suite on the Seventh Floor at Summer Row and appointments can be made through the Student Services Unit.

Medical Issues

The UCB Nurse is available for advice on a wide range of health issues including diet, exercise, immunisations, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as treating minor ailments. The Nurse is based in Room 730 in the Student Information Suite on the Seventh Floor of the Summer Row Campus.

If you have an accident or suddenly feel unwell

In the event of any accident, injury or illness, you should inform a member of staff immediately so that the UCB Nurse can be summoned. Additionally, there are numerous members of staff with First Aid qualifications on every floor at both Summer Row and Richmond House. Look for the signs close to the staircases on each floor telling you who are the First Aiders for that floor.

The Nurse will assist you in deciding whether you should:

  • be sent or taken home;
  • remain in the First Aid/Sick Room;
  • return to your class;
  • be taken to hospital by car, taxi, or ambulance.

Flu or meningitis?

Meningitis or septicaemia are rare but can be dangerous if not treated, so:

  • Check out the symptoms, and remember: the meningitis vaccine can’t prevent all strains of these diseases;
  • If you are feeling really ill, tell someone;
  • If a friend is looking unwell, don’t leave them alone;
  • If it gets worse rapidly, get a doctor’s help immediately.

Not everyone gets all the symptoms. They can occur in any order.


  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Fever
  • Vomiting repeatedly
  • Severe sleepiness or confusion
  • Rash

Meningococcal septicaemia

  • Rash (starts as tiny red pin-prick marks and develops into purple bruises or blood blisters)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting repeatedly
  • Very cold hands and feet
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pains in the limbs, joints, muscles
  • Stomach pain (sometimes with diarrhoea)
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Losing consciousness

Did you know that:

  • One in ten of us, at any time, is carrying the bacteria which cause these diseases?
  • We pass them between each other by regular close contact, such as kissing?
  • It is OK for the vast majority of us to carry these bacteria, as they don’t make us ill.
  • ...but, in a very few people, the bacteria get into the bloodstream and cause meningitis and/or septicaemia?


The current position with respect to the meningitis vaccination programme is that:


You are entering UCB for the first time and have not received the new conjugate meningitis C vaccine as part of the school programme;


You are a mature student entering UCB for the first time;


You are a new entrant to the UK and have not previously have been vaccinated,


You should register with a GP and obtain one dose of the conjugate meningitis C vaccine.

Further information is available from:

Meningitis Research Foundation

Helpline: freephone 0808 800 3344 (24 hours)

Meningitis Now

Helpline: 0800 028 18 28 (24 hours)

The Department of Health


…or your GP.

If you are undertaking a placement at either a school or a nursery, UCB strongly advises that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis B and tetanus. This is a precautionary measure that is advisable for anyone working with young children to take. For further information and advice, please see either the UCB Nurse or your GP.


It is possible that at some point during your time in Birmingham you will come across illegal drugs. All drugs produce some kind of change in the way a person’s body works and the availability of most drugs - be they aspirins, alcohol or amphetamines - is controlled by law.

  • Class A drugs are heroin, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine, crack, hash oil, and injectable class Bs. Illegal possession of a class A drug could lead to seven years in prison, and the maximum penalty for trafficking (dealing or manufacture) is life.
  • Class B drugs are amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis and mephedrone. Illegal possession of these drugs could lead to five years in prison and the maximum penalty for trafficking them is 14 years.
  • Class C drugs are steroids, tranquillisers and benzodiazepines. Illegal possession of these drugs could mean two years in prison and the maximum penalty for trafficking is five years.
  • Someone prosecuted for illegal drug use will not necessarily be sent to prison, but could end up with a criminal record, which can make getting a job very difficult.
  • If a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you are in possession of a controlled drug, the officer can search you, your home and your vehicle and seize anything which seems to be evidence of an offence.
  • UCB will adhere to the law and take action if you are found to be in possession (or involved in the use or supply) of illegal drugs.
  • Please remember: the use of illegal drugs may cost you your place at UCB.

The UCB Counselling Service offers confidential advice on drug problems and has details of local organisations who can help. Information is also available on FRANK, the National Drugs Helpline tel: 0800 776 600.