What to do if....

While there are a number of specific services which provide support to students it is recognised that any member of staff may become concerned about an individual student, and individual students may approach any member of staff about concerns they may have. In such situations the Student Wellbeing Service can provide advice, information and guidance to staff. We understand that this can be a worrying situation for staff who are keen to make sure the student gets the support they need. This section is to help staff access the advice and information they need when they have concerns about a student or a student turns to them for support.

What To Do If....

What to do if you have a concern about an individual student

There may be times when you notice a change in a student’s behaviour that is causing you concern. It may be that they have become withdrawn,  they are struggling academically, or you may smell alcohol/drugs off them on a regular basis etc. There are a number of options available to you:

  1. If you are concerned for a student, you could invite the student in for a one to one meeting. In the meeting you can say to the student that you are concerned for them as you have noticed a change in their behaviour and give them the opportunity to have a discussion with you. If the student is reluctant to disclose anything or if the student says everything is ok, the best thing to do is let them know that if anything changes support is available so if they find at any time they do need to talk to someone then they can contact a range of support services (see below)
  2. If you aren’t comfortable inviting the student in for a one to one meeting, you can make support information available to them. For example at the end of a lecture you could put wellbeing details up on display for all students, have leaflets/posters available in spaces where the student is likely to be
  3. Contact the Student Wellbeing Service. The Student Wellbeing Service can email the student, outlining that someone in the School/Support Service have raised concerns for them, and invite the student in for a meeting. If the student doesn’t respond the Wellbeing Team will follow up with the student. 

Students should be made aware of additional support (click here)

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

What to do if a student has disclosed concerning information to you

If a student discloses  concerning information to you, there are a number of options.

Reassure the student that they have already taken the first step by speaking to you, and you want them to get the best support.

Sometimes, when a student discloses personal information for the first time they can be reluctant to talk to anyone else about it. This may be because they feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. If you are in this situation reassure the student of your concern for them, that you want them to get the best support and that there may be limits to what you personally can do for them. Reassure them that they have already taken the first step and you will support them to access the support they need. This may include making an initial contact with another service on their behalf.

If you feel uncomfortable with the disclosure and prefer not to talk it through further with the student, encourage the student to contact the Student Wellbeing Service. During term time you could signpost them to our drop in service (Monday - Friday, 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Student Guidance Centre) or to email us or complete our online form. If you feel the student may not contact us, then you could call the service while the student is with you. Staff can then advise if the drop in service would be more appropriate. Staff can take the students details, and if the student doesn’t turn up for the appointment then they can follow up with the student.

Students should be made aware of additional support (click here)

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

 

What to do if a student tells you they want to hurt themselves or take their own life

It’s unlikely that you will find yourself in this situation but, should a student disclose to you that they have an immediate plan to harm themselves or take their own life, the best advice from mental health professionals is that you should listen non-judgementally, give reassurance and encourage the person to get the appropriate professional help.

Steps to take when a student is at immediate risk of harming themselves:

  • Don’t leave student on their own – you may wish to ask a colleague to assist you
  • Contact emergency services if necessary
  • Contact Student Wellbeing Service for support and agreement on next steps which may include contacting the student’s GP or their next of kin
  • Agree follow up with student by Wellbeing Adviser (e.g. phone call or email within 24hours etc) 

If this arises outside of normal office hours and the Student Wellbeing Service is not available, you should contact emergency services and inform the Student Wellbeing Service by email who will follow up with both you and the student

Steps to take if a student has suicidal thoughts but is not at immediate risk:

  • Ensure student has Inspire & Lifeline numbers, and is aware to contact their GP or A&E if they feel at risk.
  • Advise the student that you have a duty of care to them and will need to pass on your concerns to the Student Wellbeing Service who will reach out to them e.g. phone call or email within 24 hours.
  • Contact with the Student Wellbeing Service and agree next steps 

Students should be made aware of additional support (click here)

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

 

What to do if a student discloses to you that they have a disability

As with any personal information that a student shares with you it’s important that your first response is positive and encouraging. You may be the first person they have shared this with and so how you respond may influence what they do next or how comfortable they are with sharing this personal information with others.

You don’t have to be an expert but you can respond in a way which shows that you respect their situation and want to help them get the support they need. Some students are hesitant to disclose that they have a disability for fear of being treated less favourably or because they wish to be as independent as possible. Quite often when a student discloses their disability having already started their studies it’s because they are struggling academically or realise that they need additional support.

A good starting place is to ask if they have registered with Disability Services. If they haven’t done so you should suggest they contact Disability Services on 02890975251 or disability.office@qub.ac.uk. You could also ask them if they are receiving support from their GP or another health professional. If not, you can encourage them to make an appointment to see their GP. It’s also helpful to give them the name and contact details of the Disability Adviser in their School so that they have a named person to follow up with.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 defines disability as: “A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” Students who have a diagnosed disability can access a range of supports and have reasonable adjustments put in place based on an individual assessment of need.

Under the legislation it is deemed that if a student discloses a disability to one person in the University then the whole of the University is aware and must respond appropriately. For this reason, it is important that if you are in this situation you can demonstrate how you responded – sending a follow up email to the student advising them to contact Disability Services is one way of doing this.  

Sometimes, when a student discloses personal information for the first time they can be reluctant to talk to anyone else about it. This may be because they feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. If you are in this situation reassure the student of your concern for them, that you want them to get the best support and that there may be limits to what you personally can do for them. Reassure them that they have already taken the first step and you will support them to access the support they need. This may include making an initial contact with another service on their behalf.

You must respect the confidentiality of the student and always seek agreement from the student before sharing any information with anyone else.

The link to the Disability Policy is here

What to do if you are concerned about a student who hasn’t been attending lectures/placement

If you notice a student hasn’t been engaging with academic studies, there could be a number of reasons (e.g. personal issues, ill health etc.). There are a number of options available to you.

  1. You could email the student and invite them in for a one to one meeting. In the meeting you can say to the student that you are concerned for them as you have noticed they haven’t been attending lectures/placement etc. and give them the opportunity to have a discussion with you. If the student is reluctant to disclose anything or if the student says everything is ok, the best thing to do is let them know that if anything changes support is available so if they find at any time they do need to talk to someone then they can contact a range of support services (see below)
  2. Contact the Student Wellbeing Service. The Student Wellbeing Service can email the student, outlining that someone in the School/Support Service have raised concerns for them, and invite the student in for a meeting. If the student doesn’t respond the Wellbeing Team will follow up with the student. 

Students should be made aware of additional support (click here)

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

 

What do to if you think a student may be missing

If you haven’t seen a student in a while and think they may be missing, it is important that you act promptly.  The Student Wellbeing team can support the school to try and establish the students whereabouts.  When contacting the Student Wellbeing Team, it is useful to provide information including the students name, last date they were seen and any other relevant information (e.g. if you tried to communicate with them, their peers etc.) Student Wellbeing can then support the school to try and establish the whereabouts of the student.

Email: studentwellbeing@qub.ac.uk

Tel: 028 9097 2893  

What to do if a student tells you they are transgender or wish to transition

As with any personal information that a student shares with you it’s important that your first response is positive and encouraging. You may be the first person they have shared this with and so how you respond may influence what they do next or how comfortable they are with sharing this personal information with others.

You don’t have to be an expert but you can respond in a way which shows that you respect their situation and want to help them get the support they need. A good starting place is to see if they have discussed this with their GP or with a support organisation. If they haven’t done either you could encourage them to do so. Their GP can advise them on the medical aspects and refer them to more specialist services if appropriate. GenderJamNI is a social support & advocacy group for young transgender, gender variant, questioning and intersex people in Northern Ireland they can be contacted on 02890996819 or info@genderjam.org.uk.

You can also suggest that they contact the Student Wellbeing Service for further advice and support around how their situation may be impacting on their wellbeing, coping with other people’s attitudes, or their ability to participate in their course. Some students may prefer you to make this contact on their behalf as they’ve already taken the first step by telling you and this may be as much as they can focus on for now.

The Student Wellbeing Service can be contacted:

Email: studentwellbeing@qub.ac.uk

Tel: 02890 97 2893

Completing an online form available from: http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/wellbeing/raw/

Students can also attend the drop in service (currently operates on a first come first served basis, Monday-Friday from 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Sometimes, when a student discloses personal information for the first time they can be reluctant to talk to anyone else about it. This may be because they feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. If you are in this situation reassure the student of your concern for them, that you want them to get the best support and that there may be limits to what you personally can do for them. Reassure them that they have already taken the first step and you will support them to access the support they need. This may include making an initial contact with another service on their behalf.

You must respect the confidentiality of the student and always seek agreement from the student before sharing any information with anyone else.

In addition, you may wish to contact the team for further advice, information or support. Sometimes, it helps to check in with someone else for the reassurance that you have responded to the student as best you can and given them the encouragement and information they need.

The link to the Trans policy is here

 

What to do if a student tells you they have been sexually assaulted

Sometimes, when a student discloses personal information for the first time they can be reluctant to talk to anyone else about it. This may be because they feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. If you are in this situation reassure the student of your concern for them, that you want them to get the best support and that there may be limits to what you personally can do for them. You don’t have to be an expert but you can respond in a way which shows that you respect their situation and want to help them get the support they need. Reassure them that they have already taken the first step.

You will need to clarify with them whether the assault is historic or has taken place recently:

If the assault has just taken place you may need to call 999 for emergency services.

If the assault has taken place recently (particularly within the past week) you should ask the student if they have told anyone else e.g. PSNI, family or a friend, GP. If they haven’t reported this to anyone else, it’s important that they receive the correct advice and information at this stage. This is so that they understand the options available to them and the consequences of each option, and can then make informed choices about the right course of action. It’s also important that they are not put in a position where they have to keep telling people about what has happened. So, if the student gives you consent to talk to someone else on their behalf you can contact the Student Wellbeing Service for advice and support. You should agree what information the student agrees can be shared. This could range from everything they have told you, to ‘a serious assault has taken place’ or ‘a serious personal issue’. If the student is distressed it may be appropriate for you to accompany the student to meet the Student Wellbeing Adviser. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate for the Student Wellbeing Adviser to come to meet the student where they are.

It’s important that you don’t let the student give you any details of the alleged perpetrator or of the assault which may compromise any future investigation.

If the assault is historic it is appropriate to ask the student if they previously received support for this. It’s also appropriate to ask if they feel they need further or additional support at this point. If they say yes, then you can refer them to the Student Wellbeing Service for advice about support options.

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

What to do if a student tells you they have been accused of sexual assault

A student who is accused of sexual assault is entitled to receive appropriate advice, information and support from the University without judgement. If a student tells you that an accusation has been made against them you should reassure them of your concern for them, that you want them to get the best support and that there may be limits to what you personally can do for them. It’s important that you limit what the student tells you - you don’t want to have information which may compromise any future investigation.

It’s also important that the student receives accurate advice and information at this stage. This is so that they understand the processes which may be triggered, and the implications of these processes for them, particularly in relation to them as a Queen’s student.

You can advise the student to contact the Student Wellbeing Service or you can contact the service on their behalf if they give you consent. You should agree with the student what information can be shared e.g. an accusation has been made, or a serious personal issue. The Student Wellbeing Service will then provide the student with the advice, information and support they need.

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

What to do if you are advised of the death of a student

The University has formal protocols relating to responding to serious incidents, including the death of a student on or off campus. If you are advised of the death of a student other than through a formal communication, it’s important to verify the accuracy of the report before any further action is taken. This should be done by contacting Security Control in the first instance. They will be able to verify if this information is already known within the University and, if it is not already known, they will ensure that the next steps in the University’s Serious Incident protocol are enacted.

  • Security Control: internal 2222; external 028 9097 2222
  • Royal Group of Hospitals site: internal 6666

All media enquiries must be directed to Communications on 028 9097 5391.

Once the death has been confirmed there will be an agreement with the student’s family as to what information may be shared and when this can take place. This agreement must be respected at all times.

If you are concerned about the impact of the student’s death on other students, you can contact the Student Wellbeing Service. In the immediate period after the death it is likely that those affected (students and staff alike) will experience a range of emotions and responses. It’s important that their grief is acknowledged and that time and space is made available for people to talk about the person who has died, how they are feeling and what support is available to them. The Student Wellbeing Service can help you think through how best to respond to this situation – each situation will be different and will need a personal response. Options might include facilitating an opportunity for students to come together to remember the student who has died, and the Student Wellbeing Team being available to support students individually or in groups. At this early stage it’s unlikely that counselling is the appropriate response – most people with support can work their way through their grief, painful though it may be. If you are concerned about how a particular student is coping you could suggest they make an appointment to see their GP. 

Responding to this student’s situation may be difficult for you personally and it’s important that you receive support if you need it. As well as speaking to your Manager or a colleague you can also contact the Student Wellbeing Service to de-brief and talk through how this experience is impacting you. You may also wish to consider using the staff counselling service provided by Inspire which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free phone number 0800 389 5362.

 

What to do if an international student has a query or concern about their visa

If a student has a query about their visa or any related issue you should direct them to International Student Services by contacting iss@qub.ac.uk or calling to the ISS Drop-In service.

  • The Drop-In services is available to students by calling to the ISS desk on Level 1 in the Student Guidance Service at the following times: Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 2-3.30 p.m.
  • Wednesday 1-2.30 p.m.

 

 

What to do if a student needs help with a financial issue

If the query relates to payment of financial enrolment of students, assessment/collection of tuition fees and related charges, or the administrations of University Bursary Schemes, students should be signposted to the Student Finance Office, Level 1 of the Student Guidance Centre

All other queries should be signposted to Advice SU

What to do if a student needs help with an accommodation issue

If the accommodation relates to University Accommodation the student should be encouraged to contact Elms Reception 

If the accommodation is in the private sector, the student should be encouraged to contact Advice SU