Students sat on southsea beach staring out to see

Worried about someone

The friends you make at university can quickly become some of your closest friends. You'll find you can recognise behaviours that aren't quite right or notice words they use that don't sound like them. If you have concerns about your friends this page can provide guidance about how you can help.

This page will help you to find out how to:

  • Know what to do if a student is suicidal and at risk of taking their life
  • Contact the University’s Department of Sport and Recreation to get advice if you’re worried about a student who is a member of the Team UoP student sports clubs
  • ‘Raise a concern' with the University’s Student Wellbeing Service, if you are concerned for a student’s wellbeing and safety and need help from professional mental health and wellbeing staff
  • Know who to contact for help when the University is closed
  • Understand how I can help someone I’m worried about
  • Help someone if they are having suicidal thoughts 
  • Understand confidentiality 
  • Look after me when I’m supporting someone I’m worried about 

Are you worried someone is suicidal and at risk of taking their life?

If someone is at immediate risk of harming themselves (for example, if they've made a plan and you are worried that they may act on it soon), then this is a crisis and the person should go directly to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of the local hospital to get urgent help. Call 999 to request an ambulance if they are unable to go to the hospital themselves.

UoP’s nearest A&E department is:

  • Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA), Southwick Hill Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3LY

Please see the Student Wellbeing Service ‘Support in a Crisis’ webpages - here they have information, guidance and points of contact for getting support when someone is in a crisis.


We have dedicated welfare and safeguarding staff within Sport and Recreation who are the first point of contact for queries and concerns if you’re worried about a student who is a member of a sports club and Team UOP. It’s important that Sport and Recreation are aware of all welfare concerns within our Team UoP clubs so staff can ensure students receive help from the University’s Student Wellbeing Service. We can ensure the committees are supported and the club members are safeguarded when playing University sport. 

If you’re unsure of the seriousness of the situation or you would like to talk through the options of support that are available via our Working Together form. Our staff are here as a first point of contact to help you when you’re worried about a student. We are based in Ravelin Sports Centre, Cambridge Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2SE.

What may lead you to be concerned about a club member?

  • They become more withdrawn than usual
  • They have distanced themselves from training sessions
  • They have been crying a lot recently, more than usual
  • Their sporting and academic performance has gone downhill lately
  • There have been significant changes in their eating habits, e.g. eating more or less than usual
  • They have not been taking care of themselves recently
  • They are tired or distracted when training
  • Their speech has changed (more rapid, incoherent or slower than usual)

I'm worried about a student who needs to speak to a mental health professional staff member

  1. Complete the University’s Student Wellbeing Service ‘Raise a Concern’ about a student form so the Duty Practitioner can make contact with the person you’re worried about
  2. Complete the University’s Sport and Recreation’s Team UoP ‘Working Together’ form so our welfare staff in Sport and Recreation can get in touch with you and offer support and guidance from a sports club perspective

Staff from Sport and Recreation work closely with staff from the Student Wellbeing Service to look after our Team UoP members. There are a few things you’ll need to complete both forms:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The name and student number of the person you’re worried about
  • Details on the concerns you have and when these concerns started


We understand that sometimes the person you’re worried about doesn’t want you to share their concerns with University staff or professional mental health and wellbeing support services. It is important to remember that working with the University’s Student Wellbeing Service and Sport and Recreation enables us to offer support to that student as soon as possible to help them. We will not be able to help if the student’s details are kept confidential. If you’re unsure about this, please contact Sport and Recreation for advice and guidance.

Looking after yourself

If you’re worried about a student, please be reassured that you do not have to deal with this alone. Speak to our staff in Sport and Recreation or seek expert help in the University’s Wellbeing Service so we can look after you too.

Ask yourself how (and if) you are able to best help. Do you have the time/energy/mental health and wellbeing to help? Remember that you are not expected to solve your friends’ problems, help is out there and it’s easy to access for you and the person you’re worried about. 

We would always encourage you to seek support from Sport and Recreation or the Student Wellbeing Service to discuss how the issues have affected you. 

Find out more about how to:


Crisis Support

If the person you are worried about is at immediate risk of severely harming themselves or someone else, this is a crisis and the person should go directly to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of the local hospital to get urgent help. Call 999 to request an ambulance if they are unable to go to the hospital themselves.

If someone you know is going through a difficult time, they may feel isolated and disconnected from their personal support networks. There are a number of ways you can show support:

  • Talk to them, to show that the people around them care and want to help
  • Talk about the support that is available to them
  • Ask them if they have a plan to harm themselves (this will help you understand if there is an immediate risk)
  • Encourage them to be around trusted friends or family, aiming for them to be in a space where they feel safe
  • Understand that consuming drugs and alcohol can have a negative effect on mental health and wellbeing
  • Encourage them to do the things that they enjoy such as listening to music, playing sports/doing physical activity or watching tv to help distract and try to take their mind off the thoughts

Creating a Safety Plan

If you’re worried about someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can support them to make a safety plan for times when they are feeling low. A safety plan can help make sense of suicidal thoughts and learn strategies for surviving them.

Use this safety plan worksheet from Students Against Depression to develop the safety plan.

Encourage the person you’re worried about to make an appointment with the Student Wellbeing Service to discuss how they feel with a member of the team. The Student Wellbeing Service can help think through the safety plan and build strategies for keeping safe.

Additionally, contact the NHS Solent mental health team by dialling 111 on your phone.

Raise a concern (Student Wellbeing Service)

The ‘raise a concern’ form goes directly to the University’s Student Wellbeing Service, where a Duty Practitioner (a mental health and wellbeing professional) will contact the student you’re worried about. This will happen on the same day in most cases (if this is not possible, they will be contacted on the next working day). Depending on the circumstances, they may not be in a position to share any further information with you. However, if your concerns persist, please submit further ‘raise a concern’ forms.


Working Together (Sport and Recreation)

The ‘working together’ form goes directly to the University’s Department of Sport and Recreation, where a member of staff who works with the Team UoP sports clubs and committees will be able to offer support and guidance to you. When Sport and Recreation receives your form, we will do one or more of the following:

  • Contact the student and offer support
  • Contact the person who submitted the form to discuss their concerns, offer advice on how they can support the student and offer welfare support to them directly
  • Liaise with other support services within or outside of UoP who may already be supporting the student
  • Liaise with appropriate members of the student’s personal support networks to help ensure the student receives support from those who are closest to them. This includes Personal Tutors to ensure additional support can be given to help with academic studies
  • Work with the student’s Team UoP sports club Welfare Sec or Vice President, to ensure the student and the club members are safeguarded and have welfare support pathways

The Student Wellbeing Service always aims to contact the student on the day that they receive the ‘raise a concern’ form details from you. This may differ if the form is submitted at a time when the Student Wellbeing Service is close to being out of hours. If the form is submitted out of hours, they will make contact with the person you’re worried about during the next working day.

The Student Wellbeing Service is open Monday - Thursday between 08.30-17.00 and Friday between 08.30-16.00

The ‘raise a concern’ form is monitored by the Student Wellbeing Service during their opening hours of Monday-Thursday 8.30am-5.00pm and Friday 8.30am-4.00pm. It is not monitored during evenings, weekends, bank holidays or when the University is closed for the Christmas break. 

If you need to talk to someone outside of the Student Wellbeing Service opening hours for issues that require immediate support, please contact Campus Security on 023 9284 3333.

They will contact the out-of-hours support team – this could be someone from the Res Life team or the University Chaplaincy Service.

Talk to them and express your concern: 

  • Have the conversation one-on-one
  • Find somewhere without interruptions and ensure you have enough time 
  • If they don’t want to talk, respect their privacy and let them know you’re there for when they are ready to talk

Discuss what makes it easier/less stressful for them to maintain engagement in Team UoP activities: 

  • Can you travel to club training sessions together? 
  • Can they speak to their Coach to help support them?

Be understanding and supportive:

  • Show empathy - put yourself in their shoes
  • Listen and let them talk - we don’t need to give our opinion
  • Ask how/what questions for them to make a decision on what professional help they would like to access

Simply reaching out and checking on someone can make them feel valued and included

Focus on their thoughts and feelings rather than behaviours

  • I’ve noticed………How long have you been feeling like this? 
  • That sounds really tough…..I’m wondering what support you have at the moment. 
  • What support do you think would help you?
  • How would you like things to be different?
  • What do you view as the biggest problem/difficulty/challenge?.....Let's see if we can break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces
  • I care about you, is there anything I can help with? How can I help? 
  • I’m worried about you, but I’m not sure what to do. Let’s talk to someone about this. How about someone in Sport and Recreation or the Student Wellbeing Service? 
  • I’d really like to help you find someone who can help, maybe I could ask someone from the Student Wellbeing Service to give you a call. How does that sound? 

The Student Wellbeing Service ‘raise a concern’ form goes straight to the University’s Duty Practitioner so they can contact the student you’re concerned about. 
The Sport and Recreation ‘working together’ form goes straight to Sport and Recreation staff; they can then contact you to offer you support, check-in to see how things are going and liaise with the Student Wellbeing Service and other support networks. This helps us to keep a communication loop with you and helps us manage welfare relating to Team UoP sports clubs.