Advice for a Concerned Parent/Carer or Friend

You may be concerned about a family member – perhaps a daughter or son – or about a friend of yours who is studying at university with us.

This may be because of a significant change in their behaviour, a lack of motivation, a change in their level of engagement with their course (for example, not working enough or working far too hard), or other choices that the person is making which you feel may not be in their best interests.

The first thing we would advise is that it is okay, and often very helpful, for you to tell the person that you are concerned about them.  It can be very reassuring just to be reminded that you care.  It can also be helpful if you ask them to consider how they have coped with similar situations in the past or ask them to consider what they might advise someone else in their situation to do.

Remind them it can take time to build contacts and connections, but that these are important.  Perhaps suggest that they join a society, try one of our numerous social sports options, or simply ask another student on their course to have a coffee.

If you are the parent, guardian or carer of someone who is studying with us, we understand that you want your daughter/son to feel able to achieve their best. Coming to university can be a big adjustment, both for your daughter/son and for you. All new students will each have a variety of thoughts and feelings during these early weeks at university. This is quite natural – transitions and changes evoke many different reactions. Like anyone else, students can encounter personal or work-related challenges; it is not uncommon for students have periods when they feel homesick and unsure about the choices they have made or find it difficult as they adjust to university life without their usual support networks close by.

Support available to your friend or family member

Our students have access to many different types of support during their time here, and you may wish to encourage your friend or family member to access these.  These include:

Personal tutors: each student will have been allocated a personal tutor

If you are seriously concerned about a person’s mental health

If you have serious concerns, please encourage your friend or family member to seek support.  In this situation, you can:

If you are a student here yourself, perhaps concerned about a friend or flatmate, make sure that you look after your own wellbeing when supporting your friend. 

Being a friend to someone – for example, offering to take them out for a coffee, and giving them opportunities to talk about how they are feeling – can be very helpful for someone.  However, you should not feel pressured to start offering levels of support which you are not qualified to provide. This is where you need to make sure you are encouraging your friend to access the specialist mental health support services, both inside and outside the University, which are there to help them. 

If you are a student who is finding it difficult to support a friend, remember that our support services are here as much for you as for your friend and you are welcome to register with our Mental Health and Wellbeing Team for support yourself.