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Life changes

Life's always changing, but sometimes we face a big or sudden change that's hard to deal with, such as moving home, having a baby or starting to care for someone.

Even a positive or expected change can be difficult to deal with or cause stress, which usually lasts for just a short time.

Find out how to cope with some common life changes and where to get more support.

Starting university

Starting university can be an exciting new experience, but it’s normal to feel anxious and stressed.

If it’s the first time you’ve left home, you might feel unsupported or lonely because your usual support network of family and friends is not around.

You might have had hopes or set ideas about what your time at uni would look like, but now things are just not what you expected.

Things like moving into your new accommodation, making new friends and starting your new academic timetable might make you feel under pressure to adapt.

All of this can naturally put a strain on your mental wellbeing. If you are feeling this way, there is support and information you might find helpful.


A pregnancy is a huge change in our lives, especially if it's a first baby. It can be an exciting time, but physical changes can result in poor sleep caused by discomfort, and hormonal changes can result in up-and-down moods or low mood.

Some people cope with these changes well, but others find it harder, particularly if they have to deal with morning sickness or health conditions such as diabetes.

Relationships will also be tested, particularly with a partner who may also be worried or confused.

You might worry about losing your baby, and if it happens, it can be devastating and cause symptoms of trauma.

Many people may be aware you can become depressed after having a baby, but it's less well known that anxiety during and after pregnancy can also happen. In fact, it's common to experience depression and anxiety together.

Some people may be particularly anxious about childbirth. Some people may experience postnatal depression and a small number experience postpartum psychosis.

There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you are pregnant, have had a baby or have been through a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Ageing and later life

Later life can be full of amazing new experiences, but it can also be difficult at times, too. For example, if work was a major part of your life, you might find retirement difficult at first.

A loss of status or financial security, and the withdrawal from social networks and activities at work can all affect our mental wellbeing.

You may also find that you have to start caring for an elderly, ill or disabled parent or partner.

As we age, we may have less financial or physical independence. We might struggle to go out or do things alone. We may not have the money to engage in activities we once enjoyed and that connected us to other people.

Being in a care home or having a long stay in hospital can break the familiar routines of our life, causing us to feel confused and maybe even depressed.

There are also natural changes to the body that are part of the ageing process. Some of these, such as the menopause, can often result in low mood and anxiety.

It might feel like depression or struggles with our mental health are part of getting older, but they do not need to be. If you are struggling, there are free NHS talking therapies that can help you deal with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

There's lots you can do to improve things, and plenty of sources of support and information that can help.

Caring for others

Looking after someone else can be a positive and rewarding experience, but it can also be mentally and physically draining.

Helping someone else gives you less time for your own needs and thoughts. Although you may really want to care for them, you may also find it difficult and upsetting, or might feel overwhelmed and unable to look after yourself properly.

There's practical and emotional support available for carers. Speak to your local authority about what help might be available to you by asking for a carer's assessment.

There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you're caring for someone else.