If you are worried about someone else and feel unsure about what to do, you may find it helpful to read through this information.
You may be concerned about a partner, close friend, flatmate or someone on your course. They may have confided in you or they may appear to be keeping things to themselves. They may appear to be unaware or unwilling to recognise any problem.
If someone has confided in you
The most important thing you can do is listen. Knowing that you understand how they feel and want to listen may be all the person will need to begin to address their worries but if not, do not feel you have to offer ongoing support.
Help them to get the help they need. Offer to go with them to arrange support, if appropriate. Sometimes it can be daunting to take action on your own. Your support might make the difference.
If someone’s behaviour is causing you concern
Mental distress can become apparent in a number of ways. Someone’s behaviour may become erratic, they may avoid socialising or there may be signs of self-harm.
If someone’s behaviour is causing you concern but they haven’t said anything then consider telling them you’re concerned about them and what it is that is causing you concern.
Recognising early signs of mental distress, in yourself and others, can help lessen the detrimental impact it can have and can help you know when to seek help.
If someone is willing to seek help themselves
Use this information to help them decide which service is most suitable, or to find out further information:
If someone is unwilling to seek help themselves
See if they will let you talk to someone on their behalf. If they refuse, you can still talk to someone about your concerns without naming them.
If you feel the situation is an emergency then it will be necessary to involve other people. You may need to contact the person's GP, take them to the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital or call an ambulance. If you are in university accommodation you can contact the Steward in your residence for help or contact University Security.
See Help in a Crisis for emergency contacts.
If you are concerned that someone is suicidal, read the following information and advice: Suicidal thoughts.
Staff members concerned about a student
Queen Mary staff who are worried about a student should read and follow the Students in Distress Guide which can be found in the Disability and Dyslexia Service's Mental Health section: www.dds.qmul.ac.uk/mentalhealth
It is important that you don’t take on too much and feel alone and burdened by someone else’s distress. It won’t help them or you and may end up affecting your relationship.
If you need support to deal with the situation you can call one of the helplines below or you can arrange an appointment to speak in confidence with a university counsellor.
Student Minds recently launched a 'Look After Your Mate' campaign which aims to give students the knowledge, confidence and skills they need to support their friends. Take a look at their online guide full of practical tips on supporting a mate and student stories.
Leeds University Student Counselling Service have also produced a useful leaflet 'Helping a Friend' which is available to download from their Common Problems page.
The Samaritans are available to talk to all day, every day. They can be contacted by telephone, email, letter or face to face in one of their local branches.
Tel: 116 123