When you are concerned about a student
As a study adviser, teacher or other staff member at the university, you sometimes come in contact with a student experiencing various types of difficulty. It is valuable, both for the student and for the people around them, that you as a staff member take notice of the student's situation, and try to provide guidance at an early stage, before the problem escalates.
Be aware of:
- A sudden deterioration in student performance
- Frequent failure to attend classes and exams
- The student mentioning suicide
- Aggressive or threatening behaviour
- Possible influence of alcohol or drugs
- Dramatic personality changes
- The student has unreasonable thoughts that cannot be changed
What to do:
- Speak to colleagues about your concerns
- If necessary, contact Student Health
- Speak to the student
What to say to a student you are concerned about:
- Tell them the aim of the conversation, and that you want to help.
- Be honest. Tell them what you have noticed and what it is that makes you concerned.
- Ask if they have sought help.
- If they haven't sought help, tell them who they can contact.
- Offer to give them the contact details required.
- Set a time for a follow-up meeting.
What to do if a student comes to you to talk about how they feel:
- Remember your role as a professional.
- Be clear about what you can do.
- Refer to the Student Health Care Centre, study adviser, or other help.
- Seek advice from colleagues, and possibly also Student Health.
What to do if a student is difficult to get through to:
- Tell the student what you have seen.
- Avoid offering a quick solution.
- Encourage the student to stay in contact with family and friends.
- If the student talks about suicide, listen, show empathy and get help!
What to do if the student is disruptive or threatening:
A webpage (in Swedish) about violence and threats in your working environment includes a checklist on how to deal with threats and violence.
Disruptive behaviour is not acceptable. A student who disrupts teaching or harasses other students or staff at the university can be reported to the Disciplinary Board in accordance with Chapter 10 of the Higher Education Ordinance. See webpage on the Disciplinary Board.
If you are uncomfortable with the situation, you should not be alone. Make sure you have the company of a colleague.
How to help a student get in touch with Student Health:
Our capacity to receive emergency visits is very limited; therefore, we would prefer that you establish initial contact over the telephone to book an appointment.
The best thing is if the student establishes the contact, but if this is not possible for any reason, you are welcome to contact one of us directly. For more information see the Student Health contact page.
Good to know about the Student Health Care Centre when urging a student to seek help:
- The Student Health Care Centre is bound by professional secrecy.
- It is free of charge.
- You will get an appointment soon, within two weeks, but the more urgent the situation the quicker your appointment will be.
Last updated: 2016-12-05