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I may not be the person best placed to help you. Have you considered…

As academics it is vital to remember that we are not trained as counsellors, professional coaches and so on. However, there are professional services within MMU to whom we can direct students as appropriate. While no one is suggesting that a distressed student is immediately dispatched as efficiently as possible, it is worth remembering that you may not be best placed to actually help the student. One phrase that is valuable is “I may not be the person best placed to help you. Have you considered seeing your doctor/engaging with some counselling/talking to your family/etc.” A useful mantra to keep in mind is “Remain within the boundaries of your own role, otherwise you could do more harm than good”.

If a student tells you something which you feel indicates that they may be at risk, or may be a risk to our wider community you should refer them to the Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and let that service know that you have done this. These guidance notes for staff, and decision tree explain more about our procedure for responding to students who are at significant risk. They also explain what to do if you need to refer a student urgently out of office hours, and when and how we might tell someone outside the University who cares for the student - such as a family member - about their situation.

Being an effective first responder may be a skill you need in order to provide a warm and helpful response in a moment of disclosure of need by the student. You may be caught off guard whether it be in a meeting with a student or somewhere else on campus. The Student Referral Guide produced by Student Services is designed to equip staff with the knowledge and confidence to respond well if this occurs.

Sexual Consent

Manchester Met in partnership with the Students’ Union has introduced a new training package on the issues around sexual consent. All student have access to the course, which aims to make it easier for students to understand their boundaries and support their friends. Staff can use their email address to register at and explore the course so that they can effectively recommend it to students.