9th December - University Students

I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness.

Ecclesiastes 7:25

In one sense, students simply represent a sub-set of the society from which they are drawn and so issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty and mental health apply to them much as to the rest of society. However, going to University represents a significant transition into independent adulthood. For some that can be scary and unsettling. We are seeing increasing numbers of students with mental health problems . especially stress, depression and anxiety. Students sometimes put themselves under enormous pressure (or pressures can be created by family expectations).

Many people find that it is at University that they really begin to make sense of the world and their place in it. Having space to ask life's BIG questions, and people to share with as you explore possible answers, is really important. Universities and Colleges encourage all students (and staff) to explore the spiritual and religious dimensions of life and to make connections with the academic and intellectual dimensions.

Students often need spiritual and pastoral support to maintain their mental and emotional well-being and for their general welfare. Specific examples could include offering support:

Local churches can also be a valuable source of such support - so please talk to students, offer them support, and involve them in the life of your community.

The Revd Dr Ashley Wilson is Chaplain and Postgraduate Director at St Chad's College, Durham University

Daily prayer

Almighty God, we ask your blessing on all Universities and their students, staff and chaplains. We pray that Universities may be lively and engaging centres for sound learning and personal development. We ask you to comfort and guide all students who find the pressures of University life to be too great; and for all who struggle with stress, depression and anxiety. We pray for chaplains and all who share the work of pastoral care and spiritual oversight of students. We ask your blessing through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.


Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.