Supporting students’ mental health and well being
The rise in students reporting mental health issues on arrival in HE or during their studies has increased greatly in recent years. This tool contains ideas for workshop questions that could be used with course teams. In each case some suggested answers are given to enable you to field / lead the discussion and plenary.
Supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing
- Students often face challenging situations when they come to university and many of these situations will have little or nothing directly to do with their studies. Whilst challenges can be academic in nature, they can also be economic, social or health-related. It is quite common for course team members to be the first to be approached by students who are in need of additional support. In other cases students do not talk to anyone and so the issue will only be tackled if alert staff spot warning signs and are able and willing to talk to students
- This tool contains ideas for workshop questions that could be used with course teams. In each case some suggested answers a given to enable you to field / lead the discussion and plenary.
What kind of behaviours might indicate that a student is in need of additional support?
- Sleeping problems
- Lack of interest in food
- Excessive sleeping
- Poor attendance
- Poor engagement / low participation e.g. hand-in dates missed
- Substance abuse
- Seeming distracted / poor concentration
- Heightened levels of anxiety / nervousness
What kind of behaviours might indicate that a student may be on the verge of a crisis?
- Mentioning having suicidal thoughts and plans
- Mentioning wanting to harm others
- Panic attacks / obvious emotional distress
What could / should we do if we think a student may need additional support?
- Ask them if they are OK
- Listen and talk in a non-judgemental manner that does not display negative emotions
- Let the student know that:
- they can share as little or as much as they like, and that you will not press them for more
- the university has specialist services that they can access
- their safety and wellbeing is paramount and so if you believe them to be at risk you will have to alert the specialist services
- If the conversation raises issues that you do not feel qualified to discuss direct the student to staff / services that can help / advise e.g. disabled student support, wellbeing teams, chaplaincy, counselling services, doctor.
Source: Birmingham City University