A guide to free and low-cost mental health services in Brighton and Hove

2020 has been rough, but there is help out there

TW: this article discusses mental health suicide and abuse. 

2020 has been a wild year, and student mental health is so important. Being a student can be an incredibly difficult time and managing your mental health, and accessing support can be confusing, costly and hard to find. But help is available and out there, here is list of free and affordable services in Brighton to help you and your mental health.

Help isn’t just for people who have a diagnosis but for anyone who feels they could benefit.

The Sussex Tab recently reported it takes more than a fortnight to get a face-to-face counselling session at Sussex Uni, and we were unable to get an initial consultation for seven consecutive days.

Immediate help

If someone’s life is at risk or you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe CALL 999.

Call the Local NHS urgent mental health helpline for Brighton: 0300 500 0101 or you can find the helpline for your area here (England only) Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you cannot get through or aren’t sure what to do you can call NHS 111 or use their online service.


The Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours per day on 116 123.

SANEline. If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).

The Mix. If you’re under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.

Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email [email protected] or text 07786 209 697.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) or use their webchat service.

Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email [email protected] or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

Helplines Partnership. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. Mind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you’re outside the UK, the Befrienders Worldwide website has a tool to search by country for emotional support helplines around the world.

NHS mental health services

As well as the helpline listed above there are other services available to you.

Contact your GP – They should assess your circumstances and offer appropriate advice or treatment.

IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) – If you live in England, you can refer yourself to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT).

Brighton and Hove Wellbeing Service  – They provide short term therapeutic interventions and talking therapies.  They support people with emotional and psychological difficulties and provide help with employment issues and other practical or social issues for those receiving therapy. Talking therapy and workshops on depression, anxiety, confidence, assertiveness and stress are available. Access is via GP referral, or to self-refer, you can visit their website. You must either be living in Brighton & Hove, or registered with a GP in the area.

The NHS also has directories on where to get help for the following:

Anxiety services

Depression services

Eating disorder services

Mental health services for alcohol addiction

Mental health services for drug misuse

Affordable non-NHS services

As You Are – Offers counselling and group work for depression, stress and anxiety, bereavement, relationship difficulties, adult survivors and more. Individual counselling is on a sliding scale of £8-£35 per session, duo/couple counselling between £16-£40. For groups, some are free and others have a small charge.

Brighton Therapy Centre – Brighton Therapy Centre is a local registered charity that provides counselling, therapy, psychological services, courses and workshops for all ages (children and adults). There are a variety of options available including CBT. (There are also LGBTQI and non LGBTQI practitioners who are equipped to create a safe place for all diversities). Group sessions are £12.50-£35, individual sessions are £25-£65 the lowest prices may be with a trainee counsellor. Couples are £50-£80.

Psychology Sussex – Psychology Sussex works therapeutically with clients aged 16+ suffering from a broad range of complex psychological difficulties (eg, the effects of childhood sexual abuse, relationship breakdown, domestic violence, major trauma and more) and offer individually formulated therapeutic approaches to address all symptoms of psychological disorder or distress (such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis). Prices are £15-20 with a trainee. £30 for appointments with newly qualified psychodynamic and humanistic counsellors. Bursary scheme in place for subsidised appointments – must get in contact first to find out if you are eligible.

Release (for women) – Release offers one-to-one counselling and a range of therapeutic groups to women over the age of 13 in Brighton and the surrounding areas, providing opportunity to change how they feel and to live better. Sliding scale of £20-£40 per hour for one-to-one sessions, price is discussed and agreed during initial assessment.

Rock Clinic –  The Rock Clinic Association offers a range of established and well-researched psychological therapies, reflecting our belief that no single approach to therapy is appropriate for everyone. Through the supportive relationship with the counsellor upsetting thoughts and feelings can be explored in a safe, confidential and secure setting. Varies in price but low cost options are between £15-45.

Sussex Community Counselling (for people living in Newhaven, Lewes, Hailsham and Eastbourne) – Low cost counselling for anyone aged 16+, up to 12 sessions offered. £12 – £25 per session depending on income and initial assessment which is free and over the phone

University of Sussex services– offers one-to-one ongoing counselling sessions, workshops and groups for students, and access to Silvercloud for online self help. Free to any Sussex Students.

You can find other private mental health practitioners here, some people may offer cheaper fees for students, low incomes and keyworkers.

This is just a selection of options available, the mental health charity Mind has some a great resource here clicking the link will download a word document) with more options of low cost therapy / counselling for a wide range of issues. Additionally, you can email Mind on [email protected] for a copy.

If your first therapist / counsellor isn’t helping or isn’t the right fit, you can keep on looking to find the right person and treatment for you. Help is out there and things do get better. Students matter. Mental health matters. Student mental health matters. You matter.