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Look After Your Mate!

University of Salford and Student Minds

This Guide

Increasing the skills and confidence required to support a friend who is experiencing difficulties


University of Salford:

"To have students at the centre of all interventions to improve student mental health"


Student Minds:

"An institution in which we are confident in supporting our own mental wellbeing and each other, accessing services when needed"

Whilst there are many challanges and barriers to overcome, student mental health has developed a higher profile and focus on a national, regional and local level.For universities, this aknowledgement of the scale of the challenge is developing a support structure that will begin to address these issues in tandem with the NHS, Councils and the wider society

The Facts

75% of mental health problems are establised by the age of 25


3.7% of all UK UCAS applicants declared a mental health condition in their application to study in 2020 - up from 0.7% in 2011


75% of student respondents with experience of mental health difficulties had disclosed to a fellow student


Female first year students are more likley than males first year students to disclose a mental health condition (2.5% compared to 1.4%)


What We Will Cover?

The SignsHow to EmpathiesHow to Talk to Your MateWhere to SignpostUnderstanding Boundaries

The Signs

Have they become more withdrawn then usual? Have mates started to be quiet and are not concentrating on work etc?


Have they been avoiding social interactions or events? Do your mates not get involved in WhatsApp group chats, do they text less then they did, have they had minimal presence on social media than usual?

Avoiding Social Interactions

Have they cried a lot recently? Have you heard mates/housemates cry recently?

Cried A lot

Have there been significant changes in their eating habits? (eating more or less than usual) if you're living with your mates have their eating habits changed?

Significant Changes

Have they not been taking care of themselves recently? Are they a little unkempt? Not looking after themselves

Not Taking Care of Themselves

Do they seem lethargic or preoccupied? If you're living with your mates do they seem lethargic and preoccupied

Lethargic or Preoccupied

Have you noticed a change in how they speak (rapidly, incoherently or slowly) or what they are saying ("I can't go on like this")? This can be during WhatsApp chats, phone/video calls and on socials

Change in How they Speak


  • Don't push it, keep the door open
  • Reaching out and offering a friendship can really help someone feel valued and supported
  • Do they know how to contact you in the future?

What if they say no?

Starting a Conversation

  • Go somewhere quiet, without interruptions
  • Try find enough time
  • Find a neutral space
  • Do something relaxing
  • If you're a rep, consider what relationship with that individual allows you to do

Empathy - The ability to understand and share feelings of another. To be able to understand how someone else feels

Practical Tips

Empathy vs Sympathy Video

Ways to Talk to Your Mate

  • These are questions that gives your mate the opportunity to give more then a yes or no answer.
  • When talking to a friend about a sensative subject, how you say things make a huge difference:

Open Questions

Why say, "Why are you worried about talking to your SPA"Think about alternartives, "What is it that is worrying you about talking to your SPA"


  • These are statements that recognise your friends strengths


"Hey, it's good to see you! I know yesterday you weren't sure you would make it in, so it's shown a lot of strength that you're here."

  • Be encouraging and honest!

Ways to Talk to Your Mate

  • Restate and clarify what the other person has said to better understand their point of view. Use phrases such as:


"It sounds as if...""What I am hearing is that..."


  • At the end of the conversation run over the key points
  • Let your friend know that this is what you are going to do. Briefly list the main topics you've covered and let your friend add or correct anything


"You're not sure that you want to stay at university but you haven't spoken to anyone about this becasue you are concerend about the reactuion you will get. At the same time, you feel that keeping this to yourself is putting you under pressure.""Did i miss anything?"

"So it's almost as if...""It seems that..."

Next Step

If you have managed to talk and help your mate then that is brilliant. Somethimes it can be difficult to talk to them and if you seem to struggle you can always sign post them onto your SPA (Student Progression Advisors), Wellbeing and Counselling team and/or other organisationsDo not feel bad that you have not been able to help them as you intended, even a short conversation would have supported your friend more than you would have thought. To know that you are there for them gives your friend some hopeThe following slide will look at Internal Signposting (Within the Univesity of Salford) and External Signposting

Internal Signposting


AskUs askus@salford.ac.uk Wellbeing and Counselling wellbeing@salford.ac.ukDisability and Inclusion disability@salford.ac.ukReport and Support report-it@salford.ac.uk

AskUs is at the core of our student support service, offering information and advice on matters such as finance, wellbeing and counselling, accommodation and more

SPA (Student Progression Advisors)

School of The Arts, Media and Creative Technology (SAMCT) SPA Team - am-spa@salford.ac.uk

Student Progression Advisors (SPA's) are your first port of contact in schools for questions around progression, offering advice and guidance for all non-module based issues and queries

External Signposting

Local GP

They can refer to specialist support and services. You can always sign up to the university doctors

Call 116 123Email - jo@samaritans.org


"We give people ways to cope and the skills to be there for others. And we encourage, promote and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can save lives"

Text 'SHOUT' to 85258

Shout 85258

Shout is the UK's first and only free confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone struggling to cope

Student Minds

Student Minds works with students, service users, professionals and academics to develop new and innovative ways to improve the mental health of students

University of Salford Health Care

Student Minds Website

Barriers to Boundaries and the Benefits

Putting Boundaries in Place

  • Have specific time for you
  • Encourage your friend to build a wider support network
  • Encourange your friend to seek more support
  • Put your own priorities first, with alternative option
  • Make sure you are getting support too
  • It is ok if there are some things you aren't comfortable talking about
  • You're not supposed to help with everything

Looking after yourself is incredibly important, make sure that you are safe too. Try not to feel guilty and think that something bad is going to happen. You can say no, even though its hard to

Barriers to Boundaries and the Benefits

Cost and Benefits of Having Boundaries

  • Falling behind on studies; worrying, struggling with own wellbeing; becoming isolated from other friends, stretching yourself too thin to look after you

Cost to YOU not having boundaries establised:

  • Looking after yourself

Benefits for YOU having boundaries:

  • Good modelling of wellbeing; helps to establish trust

Benefits for YOUR FRIEND of having boundaries: