Managing Distressed Students

Venue: University of Edinburgh

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

Date: 12/05/2020

About this Event

This event has been postponed and bookings have temporarily closed. New details to follow in due course.

There is no doubt that students’ expectations of us, as staff working in higher education, are shifting radically. This is particularly evident when it comes to student mental health and wellbeing. Staff across the sector are finding it a challenge to respond to the levels of distress that students can present with.

In this one-day workshop, together we will start by exploring the current conversation happening across the sector about student mental health, and unpick the extent to which we are really seeing a crisis in student mental health. The workshop will equip you with the practical skills you need to respond to students in distress, invaluable skills whether you are a manager of a large student-facing team or a new member of staff in your first role in higher education.

We will also focus on practical ways to respond to a distressed student, including students who are at very high levels of risk. The session will help you to feel confident, for example, in talking to a student who tells you that they feels suicidal.

Every element of this workshop has been designed specifically for the higher education sector. In the final part of the day, we will look at ways in which you can look after your own wellbeing, as colleagues working in busy and challenging university roles.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, delegates will:

  • Understand the context in which we are discussing student mental health today, including the extent to which we are witnessing a crisis in student mental health
  • Know how to respond confidently to a distressed student
  • Understand practical ways to maintain the boundaries of their role when supporting students
  • Take away important tips for talking to a student who is presenting a high level of risk to themselves or others (for example, a student who mentions that they are feeling suicidal)
  • Understand important ways to look after their own wellbeing, as stuff members working in busy student-facing roles

Ideal for

Whether you are new to the sector, early career, mid level management or senior management, this event is a chance to talk best practice and focus on duty of care.

Details in brief

Location: University of Edinburgh

Date: 12/05/2020

Registration: 09:00

Start time: 09:30

End time: 16:30

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



Julie Rea

Plinth House

Specialist Consultant and Trainer

An experienced manager of mental health support in higher education, Julie Rea is a specialist consultant and trainer with Plinth House, based in the North East but working throughout the UK. Recently, Julie has led projects for Swansea University, Falmouth University, the University of Exeter, the University of Wolverhampton and student accommodation provider, Abodus. Julie delivers training and workshops to university staff – personal tutors, accommodation wardens and other student-facing staff – helping people to feel confident in responding to distressed students and maintaining effective boundaries. Julie also carries out service reviews to enhance university counselling and mental health teams. Julie qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 1999, working in acute admission inpatient services and as ward manager at a regional young people’s unit. In 2008, Julie joined Northumbria University’s then Counselling Service as its first mental health practitioner and several years later headed up the team. Julie remodelled the service – introducing on-line registration, shared case notes, and a full multidisciplinary approach to counselling and mental health support, all underpinned by a robust approach to assessing clinical risk. Julie added workshops, guided self-help and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) to the support offer, and developed a process for devising Behavioural Management Plans to help students and services manage maladaptive and high-risk student behaviours. Julie’s management of the service was central to Northumbria University winning the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award for ‘Outstanding Student Services Team’.

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