Vulnerable students

 

The Student Wellbeing Officer is based within Student Support, part of Student Services. The role is here to coordinate a proactive response for any student brought to the attention of Student Services who may be deemed vulnerable and not currently accessing any support service.

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Support for vulnerable students

It is inevitable that some students, during their time at university, will encounter problems caused by academic, personal or practical issues. 

Some students may choose to access support services, others may approach a friend, family member or University staff member for help while some students may be reluctant to seek any support even though problems may have become obvious to those around them. The Student Wellbeing Officer is often the first point of contact for staff who want to raise serious concerns about a student. In such cases the Student Wellbeing Officer will work with staff across the University, providing advice and guidance.

The Student Wellbeing Officer will:

  • Support staff dealing with dififcult issues and follow up reported concerns. 
  • Provide a proactive and coordinated response to a student causing significant concern.   
  • Facilitate a referral to appropriate services, both from within the University and/or external agencies.
  • Offer support and advice to students reporting an incident of sexual assault
  • Work with other University services to support underrepresented groups.

The Student Support Coordinator may also be able to help with your concern. They can provide support for students, advice and guidance for staff, family members, friends, welfare tutors based within Schools, and low-level intervention. Concerns about vulnerable students will sometimes be picked up by the Student Support Coordinator, depending on the level of support/advice and guidance required.

 If you have concerns about a student

In situations where a student’s behaviour or wellbeing causes concern, it is important to make them aware of the support available, encouraging them to seek support.

If you are worried about a student and not sure what to do about it, or would like advice and guidance please contact the Student Wellbeing Officer.

Information for Staff

At what point do I contact the Student Wellbeing Officer?

In situations where a student’s behaviour or wellbeing causes concern, it is important initially to guide a student to a service that is most acceptable to them, encouraging them to take the initiative to seek support.

There may, however, be times when this does not happen and it may be helpful for those involved to take a more active role by contacting Student Support. 

You may want to refer a student to the Student Wellbeing Officer if:

  • You or others have concerns about an individual’s current behaviour and you are unsure of the best course of action to take.
  • The student is not currently accessing support.
  • If the circumstances are complex and new to you.
  • If you feel a situation is escalating.

Wherever possible the Student Wellbeing Officer will support staff by providing advice so they feel confident in dealing with the different issues a student may face. Equally as important is to recognise personal and professional limitations when offering support. It is important to communicate concerns about a student and not take sole responsibility for the situation.

If you know that the student is already engaged with a support service within the University, it may be more appropriate to contact the relevant Head of Service.

How do I contact the Student Wellbeing Officer?

If you are concerned about a student and would like an informal discussion, please contact us on:

Emily Owen, Student Wellbeing Officer
0121 414 8764

Erin Libetta, Student Support Coordinator
0121 414 5121

James Mason, Wellbeing Officer (Learning & Development)
0121 414 5480

vulnerable-students@contacts.bham.ac.uk

If you would like to refer a student to the Student Wellbeing Officer, please complete the referral form.

What would the Student Wellbeing Officer do if I make contact?

The Student Wellbeing Officer would liaise with all those involved to gather as much information in order to build as complete picture as possible. The Student Wellbeing Officer would then use the information obtained on the individual’s circumstances to determine the most appropriate response.

This could involve either;

  • initiating contact and if needed arranging a face-to-face meeting with the student to assess support needs
  • providing advice and guidance to staff working with vulnerable student cases 
  • facilitating a direct referral to another service (both internal and external)
  • arrange an informal/formal case meeting which provides a useful forum for all relevant departments to discuss particular concerns and agree a way forward

What other support is available to staff?

Supporting the supporters provides a forum through which colleagues can receive advice, training and an opportunity to build both formal and informal support networks.

Workplace Wellbeing are based at the University and offer Employee Support Services, which offer confidential help, support and advice to all members of staff. They offer an employee listening and advice service, and Counselling is provided to University staff by Workplace Wellness, an external national provider.

If you would like advice within your school/department, you can contact your Welfare Tutor. Here is a list of Welfare Tutors if you are unsure who your welfare tutor is.

If a student has a disclosed a disability to you, you can use this form (with the student's consent) to refer the student to Disability & Mental Health Support or Learning Support.

If a student appears to be unable or unwilling to manage their health and wellbeing, it may be useful to read the Code of Practice on Health, Wellbeing and Fitness to Study, a supportive procedure which can be used in this instance.

Training 

 


Out of hours support

If a student requires urgent medical assistance, they should contact their local GP, or visit the nearest GP walk-in centre. The closest walk-in centre to the University is on Katie Road (South Birmingham GP Walk In Centre, 0121 415 2095, Katie Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6JG). This is open Saturday and Sunday 8am – 8pm. Alternatively, they can go to A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Students can also contact Forward Thinking Birmingham, a mental health service for 0-25 year olds, they offer 24/7 access to mental health support. They have a 24/7 phone line – 0300 300 0099 and a drop in centre in Digbeth, called Pause.

In an emergency, you should contact the emergency services by calling 999, followed by a called the University’s Security Services (0121 414 4444) if on campus.

Please be aware that the University Student Support Services do not operate on the weekends.

Students can contact Birmingham Nightline, a confidential support and information service. They will listen and support you as you talk through whatever is on your mind. If you would like to access the service you can call any time between 6pm until 8am, every night of term. Calls are free from your flat phone (if you are in halls), just dial 7999. Alternatively you can call the external Nightline number that is advertised on your University student ID card. If you would prefer to sit down and talk to someone in person Nightline run a drop-in service from 6pm until midnight, the drop-in area is located at St Francis Hall.

Students can also contact the Samaritans 24/7 on their helpline - 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org.

For help dealing with suicidal thoughts or feelings, students can contact HOPELineUK on 0800 068 4141.

The Student Mentor Scheme, run by the Guild of Students, can offer help and support to students living in University accommodation. Their office is in Shackleton on the Vale Village, and is open 4-8pm during term time. They can be contacted on: mentors@guild.bham.ac.uk

If a student has been the victim of a sexual assault, contact Horizon SARC (Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis support) for confidential advice/counselling/screening, call 24-hours on 0808 1685698.