Health and Wellbeing

Looking out for a friend

As a student you are likely to be away from your families and it is important that friends should look out for each other. Sometimes you may notice that a friend is in distress or shows signs of having some problem. You may be worried about getting involved and it is right that you shouldn’t take too much responsibility on yourself, but do show that you care. This section gives you information so that you can support them and know where to go to get them help.

Indications that a friend may be in need

Students will inevitably feel distressed at some point while at university and most will be able to move on from these times - however some may really need some professional help and these signs are possible indications of this:

  • Has this student stopped attending lectures and seminars and/or withdrawn from all social contact?
  • Do they appear to be continually stressed or anxious?
  • Do they seem to be apathetic to everything?
  • Are there signs of self harm?
  • Are there signs of substance abuse?
  • Is there a marked change in their personal hygiene or appearance?
  • Have their eating habits changed dramatically?
  • Have they recently been bereaved or experienced a life changing event?
  • Are they suddenly behaving in an odd way or have they become paranoid?

If you feel comfortable doing so, then you should talk to them about your concerns. Try to be sensitive – they may welcome the chance to open up or they may not want to talk about it. Try not to give advice – listening attentively might be the best thing you can do for them. If you think they need help then suggest one of the services listed here. If your friend refuses help, you could get advice yourself from one of these services without breaking their confidence. However you must not feel that you should take on the responsibility of your friend’s health and wellbeing alone without help.

If you feel that circumstances are so extreme that either your friend’s personal safety or that of other people could be affected then you should seek immediate advice from either the Student Life Centre or the Counselling Service. If you live in University managed accomodation then you can contact Campus and Residential Services.