A Guide for Staff
When to Refer
When personal issues arise in the course of a student's Academic life, there are some indicators which suggest the time to refer to The Counselling and Personal Development Service.
- When a significant amount of time is been given to addressing the personal issue.
- When you are unsure of what to do or how to respond.
- When you feel out of your depth.
- When the situation is depleting you of your own emotional resources.
- When you are worried about the student's safety.
- When you are covering the same ground with the student again and again.
- When no change is evident.
- When your suggestions are constantly rejected.
- If you feel the student is becoming too dependent on you.
Common Signs of Student Distress
Academic Indicators of Student Distress
- Significant changes in academic performance
- Sporadic class attendance or absences
- Frequently missing deadlines
- Poor concentration
- Loss of motivation
- Over working, perfectionism, excessive anxiety about academic work
Physical Signs of Distress
- Signiciant weight gain or loss
- Marked changes in personal hygiene or dress
- Signs of exhaustion, falling asleep in class
- Smelling of alcohol, cannabis
Behavioural Indicators of Distress
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Excessive dependence on staff
- Unusual or bizarre behaviour, unexplained crying, laughing, rapid speech, disorganised thinking, suspiciousness, paranoia
- Incoherent and/or incessant talking
- Uncharacteristic behaviour; unusually cheerful, agressive, withdrawn, irritable, loud, disinhibited
- Disturbing or disruptive behaviour
Emotional Indicators of Distress
- A marked change in mood
- Absence of response to normally upsetting events
- Expressing feelings of worthlessness
- Appearing tearful, sad, agitated
Distressing Life Events
- Recent break-up of a close relationship
- Death or illness of a loved one or significant other
- A major disappointment, e.g. exam failure
- Serious interpersonal conflict
- A trauma: assault, sexual, emotional, physical and/or other abuse
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Sexual orientation crisis
- Legal or disciplinary event
- Accident illness or material disaster
Other Indicators of Distress
- Something about the student makes you feel uneasy or concerned
- Students, staff or relatives telling you there is a difficulty
- A history of mental health difficulties
- Evidence of self-harming behaviour or of suicidal ideation or plans.