The number of university students with a serious mental illness has risen significantly over the past few years. A systematic review was conducted that addressed emotional and or mental health problems of university students worldwide. In total, 572 articles were identified, of which 11 met inclusion criteria. Issues identified included types of problems experienced by students, how staff dealt with these students, barriers to seeking help, tools that facilitated help-seeking and epidemiological trends in the university student population. Recommendations include (i) providing better links between the university and external mental health providers, and (ii) increasing students' awareness of existing support services within and external to the university. As it is unrealistic to expect all academic staff to have the expertise required to deal with students with emotional problems, it is also recommended that (iii) policies and personnel with expertise in mental health are available to provide guidance for staff.