Please note: This is a brief introduction. As such, it does not reflect the full variation in mental health conditions. It is recommended that staff follow the external links provided for more detailed information.
There are a growing number of recognised mental health conditions including (click on the condition for more information):
A guide for Swansea University staff on managing distressed students – Information and useful tips on offering a first line of support to students in distress, put together by the Swansea University Wellbeing Service.
Please communicate with the student as you would with any other.Mental health problems (like SpLDs) are not related to intelligence. Ensure you have the same academic expectations of them as their peers.
Acknowledge and speak to a student with a mental health condition as a specific individual in a group situation, otherwise they may feel alienated, and their mental condition may be revealed to people they would prefer did not know.
Avoid labelling a student by discussing the particular symptoms of a condition rather than the condition itself. For example, if a student has trouble making eye contact and as a result appears unfriendly, do not take offence – this may be a coping mechanism or a symptom of a condition.
Listen and have patience with the student by trying to be supportive, whilst sensitive to how they feel.
“When I started my undergraduate degree I did the responsible thing and informed my supervisor that I had depression, he informed me that in his opinion depression was a girls issue and he didn’t know what to do with girls issues and sent me on my way.”
A student displaying signs of experiencing severe anxiety, irrational thoughts or engaging in irrational or anti-social behaviour should be removed from the situation and further assistance should be sought. Do not try to reason with or challenge the thoughts of a student who is experiencing hallucinations or delusions, tell them you understand that they are experiencing them and try to keep them calm before seeking immediate medical assistance.