LSE has a step-by-step guide for staff supporting students in urgent situations. There are practical tips and advice on how to follow up with the Student Wellbeing team once the immediate crisis is over, so you can pass the situation and information over to LSE staff who are best placed to help. It also provides guidance on other difficult situations, as well as information about safeguarding and sexual violence.
Staff training module
You can learn more about signposting, listening skills, confidentiality, managing boundaries and record-keeping on our online training module, which takes 20-30 minutes to complete. We encourage all members of staff to take this module to refresh your understanding of our most recent guidance.
Take the Staff Training Module
The Academic Mentoring Portal has information and support for staff and useful guidance and information in managing mental health concerns.
Zero Suicide Alliance have 20-minute online Suicide Prevention Training, which discusses sensitive questions and reassurance for staff; see zerosuicidealliance.com.
You can find wellbeing resources here and can contact the 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme line by calling 0800 107 6147.
LSE’s Staff Counselling Service offers a confidential space where any member of staff can talk about issues that may be causing concern - email email@example.com (0207 955 6953).
Frequently Asked Questions
You should be worried about a student if:
- You notice a change in their standards of academic work or performance or repeated failures to attend classes.
- They report to you or someone else that they have a problem.
- Other people express concern, like friends, room-mates, colleagues.
- You notice a change in the way they sound or speak (flat-toned, very quiet, loud, agitated).
- You notice a change in their mood from what is usual for them (high, low, miserable, sad, tired).
- You notice a change in their weight or personal hygiene.
- You often notice smells of alcohol / non-prescribed drugs.
- They report self-harm, thoughts of suicide or plans to end their life.
In these circumstances it is better to identify sooner that a student is having difficulties. You need to make a judgment about the student's level of distress. If in doubt, talk to a colleague about your concerns, rather than keeping them to yourself. This can be done on a 'no names' basis.
Encourage them to take responsibility for arranging an appointment themselves:
- Avoid using 'should' and 'ought', rather suggest 'How would you feel about talking to a counsellor?'
- Seeing a counsellor does not mean that they are 'having a breakdown' or 'are crazy'.
- If someone is experiencing difficulties with their mental health and would benefit from specialist advice
- To support a student experiencing suicidal thoughts to make a safety plan
- To follow up after a crisis situation and coordinate long term support for the student
- Where the School can make Reasonable Adjustments or Central Exam Adjustments.
If you need emergency help call 999 without delay.
LSE Mental Health Advisers can be contacted directly via the Disability and Wellbeing Service.
- Stay calm, listen to the person and acknowledge the problem.
- Recognise the person's feelings and communicate your understanding.
- Show that you are concerned and can offer support.
- Avoid getting over-involved or being over-critical.
- Be direct and clear, especially about confidentiality and the limitations of your role.
- Take threats of self-harm, attempted suicide or plans to end it all very seriously.
- If you are an Academic Mentor, inform your departmental tutor or make contact with another adviser.
Counselling can be seen as an added support structure.
- Reassure them about the confidentiality of the counselling service. For more information read Key Policies on the Student Counselling Service Page.
- Use positive language, e.g. 'develop some alternative strategies', 'talking to someone independent to help work out a different approach / new ways of thinking'.
- Students need to contact the service themselves to make an appointment. They will first have a Wellbeing Appointment, which will determine which part(s) of Student Wellbeing Services will best help them.
- Suggest they look at the website to find out about individual counselling, groups or workshops.