Managing Distressed Students

AUA Member £245+VAT | Non-member £345+VAT

9.30 to 16.00

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

University College of Estate Management

About this Event

Whatever our role, when faced with a distressed student, we can feel overwhelmed.  It can be too easy for us to take on too much or lose sight of the boundaries of our role. 

The focus of this one-day training session will be on helping colleagues to feel confident when interacting with, and responding to, distressed students.  It will focus on practical skills that will help colleagues connect, in ways that are appropriate and supportive, to a students’ distress, while still maintaining appropriate role boundaries.

This course is an in-person event, as we know how much colleagues value the opportunity to network with colleagues across the sector and share good practice.  Exploring practical skills about working with a distressed student is helpful to do face-to-face, as this gives us a chance to open up and discuss our past experiences with student and tricky situations we have encountered.  Specific opportunities to meet colleagues from other universities will be part of the programme. 

In this full-day event (10am-4pm), we will start by considering the nature of distress and the way in which a student might present.  We will then explore a range of practical skills you need to respond to students in distress – including ways in which these skills might be applied in the context of remote working. 

We will also discuss how we should respond to a student who presents at a higher levels of risk (for example, a student who mentions suicide). The final section of the course will explore ways in which we can look after our own wellbeing, as staff members – both in the moment, when we are with a distressed student, and more broadly in our work.

Who is it for?

This course is aimed at anyone who works with students for a significant proportion of their work.  Whether you are new to the higher education sector or experienced at working with students, we can all find it helpful to take time to learn effective ways to manage challenging interactions with students.

Managers of student-facing teams can also benefit from this session, as it will help you to advise team members on their approach with students.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session, participants will:

– Be familiar with some common mental health conditions that students present with and the implications for study

– Understand how to respond confidently to student distress, including practical ways to maintain the boundaries of your role when supporting students

– Know how to respond effectively to a student who is presenting a higher level of risk (for example, a student who mentions suicide)

– Take away practical steps for looking after your own wellbeing, both in the moment when you are with a student and more broadly

Interested in becoming an AUA Member? Find out more and how to join here.

Details in brief

Location: University College of Estate Management

Date: 13 June 2023

Time: 9:30 to 16:00

Fees: Member £245+VAT | Non-member £345+VAT

If you wish to pay by invoice you will need provide a valid PO number within 14 days of receiving your booking confirmation email. If you fail to provide a valid PO number, your booking will be cancelled and you may be required to rebook at a non discounted rate.  You can send your valid PO number along with your invoice number to


Julie Rea

Plinth House

Specialist Consultant and Trainer

Julie was head of counselling and mental health support at Northumbria University and now works with the managers of university wellbeing services to review and enhance service provision. 
In her training work, Julie’s focus is on promoting mental health awareness, helping people to maintain appropriate boundaries and feel confident in responding to the distress of others.  Julie delivers individual and group supervision, to both clinical and non-clinical staff in universities, to help people enhance their work with students.
Prior to working in higher education, Julie worked in the NHS in acute admission inpatient services and as ward manager at a Regional Young People’s Unit.  Julie is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

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