Skip to main content

Responding to Students in Distress

Referral Guide: to help gauge the level of distress to ascertain the most appropriate intervention for a student in distress

(N.B also see Sexual Assault Pathway for assistance with responding to students reporting sexual assault)

 

Level of severity


Emergency

 

Incapacitated

 

Extremely severe

 

Very severe

 

Severe

 

Moderately severe

 

Moderate

 

Mild

 

Very mild

 

Definition


Violent and threatening behaviour to self and/or other; actively suicidal

 

Unstable; functionality overwhelmed; maybe psychotic; maybe suicidal thought and intent evident

 

Some suicidal thought evident; seriously desperate; functioning significantly affected

 

Functioning significantly effected; very distressed and fearful; chronic and constant; may have suicidal thought

 

Coping to some extent but at great emotional cost; chronic but not constant

 

Distressed and functioning affected; may be having difficulty in managing demands or are
becoming withdrawn from activity

 

Considerable distress but functioning ok in some activities but performance may be effected

 

Distressed but contained

 

Concerned; response seems ‘normal’ to situation; minor difficulty

 

Example of behaviour/activity


Overdosed; deep wrist cuts; etc

 

Lack of contact with reality; suicide attempt imminent

 

Uncontrollable; ‘acting out’

 

 

 

 

This includes a range of examples, including: depressed; eating disordered; stressed/anxious/panicking/worried; struggles with self identity, transitions; etc which may present through the range of severity levels.

 

Struggles with assignment; homesick; relationship break up

 

Action to consider


Call emergency services (999) via security ext22222

 

Contact the Crisis and Resolution Team for an urgent mental health assessment Tel: 024 7624 6789, or contact security ext 22222

 

Contact the Crisis and Resolution Team for an urgent mental health assessment Tel: 024 7624 6789, or contact security ext 22222 and Contact the University Mental Health Coordinators

Refer them to their GP and/or seek advice from the Mental Health Coordinator. Consider referral to the UCS*

 

Consider referral to the UCS*

 

Consider referral to the UCS*

 

Consider referral to the UCS*

Consider signposting to University Wellbeing Advisor

Consider referral to the UCS*

Consider signposting to University Wellbeing Advisor

 

Acknowledge distress and reassure; sign post to specific information. Consider signposting to University Wellbeing Advisor

 

NBs


Keep yourself out of danger; deebrief with someone promptly

 

Keep calm to contain the situation; debrief with someone afterwards

 

Contain the situation until it subsides; debrief with someone afterwards

 

Monitor the situation regularly

 

Monitor the situation occasionally

 

Monitor the situation as required

 

Monitor the situation as required

 

Monitor the situation as required

 

Arrange to check at a later date

 


 

 *UCS University Counselling Service. The UCS offers a comprehensive counselling service including

If you are considering referral to the UCS, or have any concerns about a student's emotional or psychological well being, please get in touch:

NB Each academic department has a designated named link consultant who can offer guidance on referring to the counselling service.