Health and wellbeing
Mental health problems are common and many students will experience emotional and psychological difficulties at
some point during their studies. Usually these can be resolved by talking things through with family or friends
and most students, including those with diagnosed mental health difficulties, will cope with reasonable support
(including professional support if need be), and are able to succeed at university.
Support that may be helpful to students with mental health difficulties:
- awareness that some students may find it difficult to integrate into the class and group work may be difficult
- awareness that medication can make students drowsy and cause them difficulty in concentrating in classes and private study
- course materials available in advance in electronic format will help the student to plan their work
- students may use notetakers, taped lectures or a mentor to assist them in organising study and meeting deadlines
Supporting distressed students
Sometimes distressed students will turn to staff for help or support. If you feel you need, or are requested,
to give a student extra assistance it is important to help within the boundaries of your role and what you feel
competent to do.
What you can do
- ask open questions
- don’t be afraid of tears
- make appropriate referrals
- give the student time to talk
- be sympathetic and not dismissive
What you can’t do
- solve all of a student’s problems
- take responsibility for his or her emotional state or actions
- force the student to get help if they don’t want it
- act as the student’s counsellor
It's not always easy to decide what the best source of support might be. What is important in the
first instance is to refer the student to somewhere that is acceptable to him or her. If in doubt, the
Student Services Hub is a good place to start.
If you offer support yourself, make sure you have sufficient time within the context of your other
commitments to do this and it does not conflict with other aspects of your role. Avoid making physical
contact as this can be misconstrued. Trust your instincts - if you feel a student may be at risk, contact
the Student Services Hub.
Sometimes you will be made aware of worrying behaviour, by other students for example. Or you may notice
a student appears physically unwell, dishevelled, agitated or acting out of character. In this case, follow
up with the student if you feel confident to do so – it is important to be honest with the student about the
concerns and be prepared to refer to other sources of support. If you remain concerned, or you do not have
the capacity to follow up with the student yourself, please do pass on the concerns to your Senior Tutor as
well as to the Student Services Hub who can follow up as necessary.
Students at risk
Very occasionally a student may exhibit or refer to disturbing behaviour or thoughts which lead you to believe
they may be at risk of harm to themselves or others and that there is need for urgent intervention. You may be
concerned because the student:
- is expressing thoughts of serious self-harm or suicide
- is violent, or threatening violence to people or property
- seems very disorientated and out of touch with reality, including having hallucinations, hearing voices or
expressing paranoid or irrational beliefs
If you're concerned that a student is at risk, please contact the Student Services Hub
without delay to discuss your concerns, as well as encouraging the student to seek help themselves. You should also let your senior
Out of office hours
Members of the Residence Life team can provide advice and follow up with students living in campus
accommodation out of hours if necessary. Security staff hold the on-call rota for the team and should be contacted in the first instance with any concerns.
In very extreme circumstances, if a student’s behaviour is disruptive, they may be excluded under the
fitness to study policy (.pdf).
Contact our Student Services Hub for further information.
In the unlikely event of a crisis where a student – or those around – are at immediate risk, the police or ambulance should be called
(via security at your campus).
Other health information
If you find that a student is physically or mentally unwell, help them to get support from the appropriate healthcare
services. The first point of call is the Student Services Hub.
Faith and worship
The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy is open for use by all members of the University who wish to pray, meditate or spend some time in quiet reflection.
Groups and workshops
Our groups and workshops are designed to support students through the demands of
academic life. Students find it beneficial to be part of a group with other people with similar difficulties.
Student Services Hub
Our Student Services Hub provides advice, information and support on a range of health and wellbeing issues for students