“Struggles are inevitable in life. It helps us to grow and allows us to know ourselves better. Navigating through difficult times can be painful but it should not be a lonely process. Know that you are not alone as there is support available around you – your friends, Resident Fellows, Resident Assistants, USP Directors, a peer mentor, a professor or lecturer, someone in the USP office or home faculty, or me” – Ms Rachel Lam


rachel lam


Pastoral Care USP

Pastoral Care USP

University Scholars Programme (USP) offers first-line counseling care and support for students experiencing distress in university life, whether psychologically-, emotionally-, physically-, or financially-related. Any USP student or Cinnamon College student resident is able to approach the USP pastoral support admin staff for emotional and psychological support, and to utilize its pastoral resources. Services include weekly office hours for students to drop by for one-to-one counselling sessions or group conversations, and guidance to student interest and residential support groups. The office works closely with NUS University Counselling Services (UCS) and University Health Centre (UHC) for follow up support and care.


USP pastoral support admin staff abide by a confidentiality policy to create a safe and private space where students can share openly, hence any information you share with the USP pastoral admin will be kept confidential.

Exceptions to this practice are when students give written consent to reveal information, when there is a need to protect you or others from serious harm, or when students are mandated by NUS for assessment.

Issues & Distress

USP can provide first line counseling support to USP students and Cinnamon College residents who might be experiencing distress, for example:

  • Adjustment issues
  • Transition to residence life
  • Academic difficulties / stress
  • Family commitments / financial stress etc
  • Conflicting choices
  • Relationship issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Major disappointments
  • Other difficulties in coping
  • Auxiliary services
      1. Post-university planning → career services
      2. Academic study plan → academic advisor

Do seek help if you:

  • Feel unsafe in the residential college (RC)
  • Feel intimidated by others in a classroom, the RC Dining Hall, or social environment
  • Experience prolonged functional impairment (e.g. unable to attend class/ complete work)
  • Feel extremely overwhelmed and helpless that it affects your daily functioning
  • Are engaging in or thinking about self-harm or disordered behaviors
  • Are facing emotional or physical abuse
  • Are being harassed, sexually or otherwise
  • Are being bullied
  • Need more help than your current support network is able to provide
  • May require special arrangements or considerations, or leave of absence

Crisis Stress

If you are in crisis and feel that you may pose a risk to yourself or to others, please call the NUS Lifeline (6516 7777) immediately.

Call emergency ambulance services (995) if you require hospitalization. For non-emergency ambulances, call 1777.

When You Have Concerns

Contact any USP staff to express your concerns - e.g. an instructor or Residential Fellow (RF) or any professional staff you trust. Concerns will be communicated to USP Directors.

Depending on the concerns, the relevant Deputy Director (DD) - Student Life or Academic, or the USP RC admin, or USP pastoral admin, will chat with you and assess what kind of support services you need. S/he may:

  • Refer you to other services e.g. NUS University Counselling Services (UCS) or your home faculty
  • Advise you on possible arrangements
  • Help facilitate or make follow up appointments
  • Help check in on you (if necessary)

Alternatively, you can make walk-in appointments directly at NUS University Counselling Services (UCS), located at the University Health Centre (UHC), 20 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Level 2, telephone number: (65) 6516 2376.

Some useful telephone numbers and websites are listed here.