What you can do

If a student approaches you and is showing common signs of distress, remain calm. You can offer your assistance by doing the following.

  • Acknowledge: Let the student know you are concerned for them and tell them why.
  • Listen: Briefly encourage the student to talk about the distress they are experiencing.
  • Determine: Check your understanding of the situation and whether the student has sufficient support and resources to cope, or if they need additional support.
  • Act: Help the student to receive the appropriate support they need to cope.
    • Attempt to arrange a referral; ask if the student has anyone to talk to. Help the student to find support and resources only if you have their prior consent (e.g. contact the Counselling Centre or go online for other resources).
    • If the student does not consent, it is possible to consult more generally (protecting confidentiality; see information in Privacy) with a staff member or the Counselling Centre for assistance on what you could do.
    • You may check in with the student at a later date and enquire how they are. At that point, you could suggest a referral if it is still warranted.
    • Consider the option of discussing the allowance of extended time on assignments or special consideration if you think it relevant – this may be the main reason the student is meeting with you. If this behaviour becomes a pattern at assessment times, then refer the student to the Disability Services Centre for professional review, rather than immediately agreeing further or repeated extensions.
    • Provide information on available and relevant student services (such as the Counselling Centre, Health Service, or Disability Services Centre).