Identifying & Responding to Student Mental Health

This course focuses on helping academics & staff members to identify at-risk students and respond to mental health challenges.


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Developed in collaboration with the University of Manchester, this course joins a growing roster of Marshall Elearning offerings dedicated to supporting students – Student Disclosure of Unwanted Sexual Incidents, Student Consumer Rights for staff members, and Student Mental Health.

Modern society is rife with misgivings and misconceptions about mental health, especially among young people and students. It is commonly believed that mental health problems are rare in this demographic. However, more than 1 in 4 of UK students have reported having mental health challenges of some kind (YouGov, 2016), clearly demonstrating the importance of the course.

While most universities have specialist services to lend a helping hand, academics and staff members likely need assistance in dealing with at-risk students sensitively, which is where we come in.

The course addresses misconceptions about mental health and equips the learner with a range of abilities to best aid at-risk students and avoid common errors that could make things worse. They will learn how to spot signs of at-risk behaviour, nurture the confidence of vulnerable students, and identify the sources of support suited to particular students.

Who is this course for?

This course has been designed in collaboration with the University of Manchester to provide anyone – staff members or student peers – with the ability to recognise the signs of mental health problems and the understanding to avoid making at-risk students feel worse. It explains how to speak with at-risk students naturally and appropriately, and how to identify the best services to contact in more severe situations.

Course Duration

The course takes around 45 minutes to complete. Learners can bookmark their progress to complete the course in their own time.

What does the course cover?

The course has 4 key modules covering Anxiety, Psychosis and Suicide Risk and the best approaches to help those struggling with these challenges. In the conclusion, learners are asked to assess their own capabilities and limitations and signposted to key resources such as the university counselling services or external aid (Samaritans, Papyrus, etc.). Finally, an assessment helps to reinforce the learner’s knowledge.

Module 1: Introduction

The introductory module covers the main misconceptions concerning mental health problems among young people and students and outlines the basic approaches to overcome a range of challenges relating to mental health that the learner may encounter, such as how to approach students with anxiety or psychosis, or those who may be considered a suicide risk.

  • What are the early signs?
  • What are the basic Do’s and Don’ts?
  • How should I talk to someone with a mental health challenge?

Module 2: Anxiety

Covers scenarios relating to anxiety, such as becoming anxious due to the pressures of completing assignments to a high standard, or avoiding university classes due to social anxiety, the fear of interacting with people they don’t know. It also outlines how best to aid students facing similar issues.

  • Students can become anxious if they push themselves too hard
  • Some students’ anxieties can stop them from interacting with other students and affect their performance in their studies.
  • But with the right support, they can find help with these challenges.

Module 3: Psychosis

Explores two different versions of a scenario with a student potentially experiencing psychosis, and identifies the signs of his mental health problem as well as the correct approach to take in similar situations.

Module 4: Suicide Risk

Considers a scenario with a potentially suicidal student, and offers insight into three possible outcomes from interaction with a staff member.

  • Potential outcome – agrees to contact Counselling Services immediately
  • Potential outcome – attends A&E
  • Potential outcome – refuses further help

Module 5: Getting Help

The final key module of the course reviews the sources of help and support available to students struggling with mental health problems and how staff members can move forward with the support of any students who approach them.


An informal assessment to reinforce learners’ knowledge on the course to indicate levels of understanding the subject matter covered.

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