A student’s confidence and self-esteem can be affected by mental health difficulties, making it difficult for them to ask for help, so it can be useful for staff to be proactive in supporting students. Most students will experience heightened stress around the time of examinations, or when working towards deadlines. At these times, it is worth bearing in mind that many mental health difficulties can be exacerbated by stress and that students’ support needs may fluctuate accordingly.
Students experiencing common mental health difficulties may exhibit some or all of the following:
- Poor concentration
- Poor short-term memory
- Low self-esteem and confidence, leading to difficulties in asking for help
- Difficulty mixing with others or making new friends, leading to social isolation.
- Negative thinking
- Poor motivation
- Difficulty organising their workload
- Changes in perception, such as hearing voices when there’s no one there
- Sleeping more or less than normal
- Poor physical health
Students are under no obligation to disclose that they have, or have previously had, mental health difficulties. If a student does disclose, they may require support so, with the student's consent, you should refer them to the Aston Webb Student Hub where their requirements can be assessed. If the student refuses to give consent, you can still speak to us for advice without disclosing their name. Please refer to general Information for Staff page for more information.
Students with mental health difficulties can be well supported through a helpful relationship with staff. This feeling of support can come from offering them the time and space to talk about their difficulties, listening to what they have to say and providing relevant and appropriate information about the support available. In this way students can make an informed choice about what to do. It is important to be mindful of boundaries and of our own personal limitations. Whilst staff should respect confidentiality, if there are any concerns, they should speak to their line manager, or contact one of the Mental Health Advisors for further advice.
Tutors and academic staff can refer a student to the Mental Health Advisors with the student’s consent, or can advise a student to contact us directly.
Working with someone with mental health difficulties can be distressing for a number of reasons and staff should remember to look after themselves by developing a good support network, and by taking care of their own mental and physical health. The University Workplace Wellbeing Service offer various types of support to staff, including confidential advice and occupational health provision.