Responses to Students at Risk
Non critical incident situations
Mental or emotional distress
- Spend some time with the student/person involved: listen and help the person clarify their situation.
- Be non-judgemental in your responses and attitudes.
- Explore possible options and encourage the person to search for a satisfactory course of action.
- Consider whether the person needs a referral to sources of help.
- Show continuing interest and support.
- Let them know you will talk with them again and that you have an interest in their wellbeing.
- In cases of obvious and elevated mental or emotional distress, staff should contact the Counselling Service and ask to speak with a Counsellor for consultation and advice.
- Advise the student about the Health Service on campus (www.services.unimelb.edu.au/health) or check if they have a local GP. Encourage them to make an appointment for a check up.
- The Safer Community Program (SCP) aims to promote an environment that fosters safe learning, working and living at the University of Melbourne. SCP provides the opportunity to pass on behaviour of concern before it develops into something serious.
Critical incident situations
Acute mental health acute distress, with danger of harm:
- Get back up support.
- Let a colleague or supervisor know about the situation as soon as possible.
- Avoid leaving the distressed person alone – ask a colleague to stay with them even if you only have to leave for a small period of time.
- Try to make the person in distress safe. If possible keep them away from windows, staircases, balconies, dangerous objects or chemicals.
- Contact security - Ext X46666. If possible get someone else to make the call. This leaves you free to focus on the needs of the person who needs assistance. Security will coordinate an appropriate response to the situation. They will also be able to provide back-up support to keep everyone as safe as possible.
- Get backup support.
- Get someone else to call Security - Ext 46666
- Request an immediate call for medical assistance or an ambulance.
- Use appropriate first aid strategies.
- Security will make sure the ambulance and other emergency response teams arrive as soon as possible.
Intervention with students at risk may not be easy and may leave the helper feeling distressed. Staff and students who are directly involved may need to be supported. Supportive consultation sessions for individuals or groups of staff to debrief can be provided by Counselling and Psychological Services. Please call to arrange and ask for the Manager.