Advice and Counselling Service

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On this page you can find information about a range of resources aimed at supporting you in your role as a personal tutor/academic adviser:

Short Films on Student Support

We have made two 5 minute films to illustrate some of the skills and tips that staff may find useful when supporting students.  The films are primarily aimed at personal tutors / academic advisers, although much of the material will be relevant to any staff involved in student support within academic schools.

Film 1:  Jas has plucked up the courage to see her personal tutor because she is falling behind with her academic work and has become very anxious about this.  But she finds it difficult to tell him why she is there, and feels embarrassed that she is wasting his time.  The film shows what happens during their meeting and includes key learning points regarding:

  • Supporting students who are uncertain about what is going wrong, and might find it hard to be specific about what they need
  • Helping students to identify what might help, and de-mystifying Queen Mary support services
  • Reality checking their academic situation and plans for getting back on track
  • Tips for agreeing a plan of action and next steps


Film 2:  Diane, a Personal Tutor, has noticed that one of her tutees, Benjamin, has not been attending for the past couple of weeks.  This is unusual for him, and she has emailed him to ask him to come and meet with her.  The film shows what happens during their meeting and includes key learning points regarding:

  • Tips for pro-actively engaging students when you spot something might be going wrong
  • Combining support and understanding with a firm, realistic approach
  • Asking open and probing questions
  • De-mystifying Queen Mary support services
  • Tips for agreeing a plan of action and next steps



A-Z of Queen Mary Support Services [PDF 2,149KB]

Having a good understanding of how the various Queen Mary Support Services can help students, and how best to access them, will help you to signpost students effectively. Why not include a link to this guide in your emails to students, and keep a supply in your office?  Email welfare@Queen if you would like some hard copies.

Range of Student Advice Guides 

The Advice and Counselling Service publishes 14 guides for students on everything from Student Funding to Council Tax, Extenuating Circumstances to Money for Lone Parents, and Part Time work to Tier 4 Immigration.  Often, students can get the information they need without even needing to contact the Advice and Counselling Service directly. 

Why not include links to relevant guides in your emails to students, or add links to your QM Plus pages? 
Students find the guides that deal with interruptions of study, resits and changing courses particularly helpful.  

Online tools and resources for emotional and wellbeing issues  

Often, students can really benefit from using online resources – they may not always need to see a counsellor face to face.  Why not familiarise yourself with these webpages, and signpost students to them where appropriate?  Accessing online resources might also be a stepping stone to getting help, for those students who would benefit from seeing a counsellor face to face. 

These resources include information about the self-help reading collection in the Queen Mary library, information about building emotional resilience and guidance on common problems.

Mental health and supporting students in urgent situations

Queen Mary’s step by step guide for staff who are supporting a student in an urgent situation offers practical tips on how to respond in immediately urgent situations.  It also includes advice on how to follow up with Queen Mary’s mental health team once the immediate crisis is over, so that you can pass the situation on to staff at Queen Mary best placed to help.  The guide also provides guidance on other difficult situations that are less immediately urgent, as well as information about sexual violence and safeguarding issues.

You might also find this mental health online toolkit produced by the University of the Highlands and Islands useful too.

This free online training course on how to talk to someone about suicide is excellent.

The Samaritans SHUSH listening tips offer simple and helpful advice about becoming a better listener.

Approaching students who you think may have a specific learning disability like dyslexia

Many staff have reported being concerned that they might offend a student by suggesting that they might be dyslexic.  The Disability and Dyslexia Service have offered this advice: Approaching students who you think may have a specific learning difficulty [PDF 557KB] to staff about how to have these conversations. 

Referral materials for Queen Mary support Services

Students are more likely to follow up suggestions to contact specific services for support, if they have something to take away with them.  All of the Queen Mary services like the Advice and Counselling Service, Disability and Dyslexia, Mental Health Coordinator and Learning Development have small cards and bookmarks that you can keep in your office to give to students when you are signposting them to more specialist support.  You can order these materials at:

welfare@Queen (Advice and Counselling Service cards)

dds@Queen (Disability and Dyslexia Service and Mental Health Coordinator cards)

k.peake@Queen (Learning Development: 1:1 study skills, small group sessions, writing retreats, Support from Royal Literary Fellows)

Training and Support for Staff

Queen Mary offers a range of courses on student support for personal tutors / academic advisers, and on mental health first aid.  Further support is available through a consultancy service run by the Advice and Counslling Service for staff who are supporting students, as well as discussion and support groups for staff available on request.  

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust has a freely available e-learning package that is designed to give non-specialist staff the skills, knowledge and confidence to offer a first line of support to students who may have mental health issues.

This free online training course on how to talk to someone about suicide is excellent.

The Samaritans SHUSH listening tips offer simple and helpful advice about becoming a better listener.



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