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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Worried about a student

There may be times when you become concerned about someone else who appears to be struggling in some way.

It might be a housemate whose behaviour is worrying you, someone on your course who seems upset, or a friend who is also a student having difficulties.

Many people find it hard to ask for help. For some this may be due to the culture or country from which they come. For others it may be a fear of stigma. A friend who can help or just listen can be incredibly supportive, and you may feel able to offer that support. If you are unsure, the University has advisors to help you decide what to do.

If you are able to help by listening and talking, remember that you do not need to offer solutions. Just listening without judging can help someone feel heard and lessen their feelings of isolation.

You may wish to encourage the person in difficulty to seek help and let them know that there is support at the University. Some people are afraid that telling the University about a problem will count against them. This is not so. The support services are here to help.

In exceptional circumstances, where you feel that someone’s safety is at risk, you may need to act without their consent. You may be concerned about someone's safety if they have expressed suicidal ideas, seem utterly hopeless, are behaving oddly, or are hurting themselves. For people who are vulnerable to psychotic experiences (e.g. hearing voices or becoming paranoid) this may emerge at University for the first time. In an immediate emergency, call 999 or University Security  on +44(0)23 8059 2811 or email

If you find that you are supporting a friend or housemate it is important to remember that there are limits to how much you can be expected to do. You need to be realistic about what level of support you can offer and be honest with the person, so that they understand this. it is important to consider your own needs and the limits to the support that you can offer others.

Options for support in the University include:

We are experienced with a wide range of problems, and we're there to help. Other pages on this area of the website include information about many kinds of problem together with contact details for getting help.

If your housemate or friend will not agree to you seeking help within the University, you can still speak to a University advisor to support yourself (you do not have to mention their name if you do not want to). It is always best not to become, or agree to be, the only source of support to someone, and if you find this is happening we recommend that you seek support and advice for yourself.

If you need immediate emergency help in a life-threatening situation call 999, or you can go with someone to your nearest accident and emergency department. If the situation is not life-threatening, call 111. You can also suggest phoning the doctor's surgery to make an urgent appointment.

NHS 111

For urgent medical help or advice when the situation is not life-threatening. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Tel: 111


Tel: 08457 909090



Tel: 08000 68 41 41

Students Against Depression

Guidance on helping you survive suicidal thoughts with information on making sense of suicide and how to get help.


Tel: 0300 123 3393


Information on why you may be having suicidal feelings and some options to help you look forward and break the cycle of negative thoughts.

Get Connected

Tel: 0808 808 4994

Get Connected is the UK's free, confidential helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don't know where to turn.


Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5236


A student-run listening service available 8pm - 8am during term time.

Student Life

A team of train advisors available 24/7

Trained support staff

Tel: (+44(0)23 8059 8180



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