Do you think lecturers want to know if students are struggling with mental health?

(20 Posts)
Anx10usZ3bra Wed 24-Feb-21 13:22:37

I'm a mature student in university and struggling with my mental health at the moment. I'm wondering if it's worth reaching out to my personal tutor. I don't think there's anything they can do but do you think they'd rather know? I'm guessing a lot of people on this board have DC in university, would you encourage your DC to reach out to their academics if they were feeling this way?

OP’s posts: |
PheasantPlucker1 Wed 24-Feb-21 13:25:38

Im a teacher not a lecturer but yes absolutely I want to know. Especially as some people hide it so well!

Anx10usZ3bra Wed 24-Feb-21 13:42:31

Thank you @PheasantPlucker1. I think it's definitely gotten a lot easier to hide with everything being distance learning. Even face masks make it easier to hide facial expressions and pretend everything is okay when we do have the odd in person session. Do you think you'd feel differently if you were only teaching adults?

OP’s posts: |
clipcloptrop Wed 24-Feb-21 13:44:41

Of course. Let them know and they can point you in the right direction for helpthanks

NotYourReindeer Wed 24-Feb-21 13:45:18

Absolutely. Let them know.

My daughter is only at A Level stage but we have kept her personal tutor up to date through her struggles due to mental health and he has offered a lot of support and acted as go between between her and her tutors
He also told me there are a lot of students finding things very hard at the moment so you're not alone.

Hoghgyni Wed 24-Feb-21 14:09:26

Definitely. Also take a look at any online welfare support you can access through their Welfare Service. My DD' has a series of podcasts and online sessions which may help. The hardest but bravest thing you can do is ask for help, but you won't be the first person they have seen who is struggling. I hope everything falls into place for you.

TinyGlassOwl Thu 25-Feb-21 11:58:28

It is literally the role of the personal tutor to provide pastoral care, which includes signposting you to support for your mental health.

That is what they are there for, please do reach out.


SarahAndQuack Thu 25-Feb-21 12:05:33

Yes, definitely. @tinyglassowl is right that it's the personal tutor's job, but a lecturer may well also be a good point of contact (and often students know their lecturers better than their personal tutors, so we're used to having these conversations).

You deserve and need support; everyone will want you to get it. Good luck!

Labobo Thu 25-Feb-21 12:06:12

I would, definitely.

AlexandraEiffel Thu 25-Feb-21 12:09:03

Yes absolutely. And there are students in every year with mental health problems so you won't be something unexpected. There are also those that struggle on, don't do as well as they could or even drop out as it's gutting as we could have helped if we'd known.

AlexandraEiffel Thu 25-Feb-21 12:10:02

And if one lecturer is less approachable, pick one that is.

SpiceRat Thu 25-Feb-21 12:11:39

Please let them know. I work in a university (not academic) but there are support services in place to help you during times like this. Please do not be afraid to reach out to your tutor, it's what they are there for. When I was in university I didn't do this for a while regarding a chronic illness until it got so bad I was missing a lot of lectures, handing in work late and my tutors, rightly, got shirty with me. Once I had a bit of a breakdown and explained they signposted me to support, which was a massive help, had leniency on attendance etc. PLEASE speak up flowers

ASimpleLobsterHat Thu 25-Feb-21 12:12:40

I’m a lecturer and I would definitely want to know. For those students that I am personal tutor for I have dealt with this and helped them find appropriate support. I’ve also had students I’m teaching come up to me and tell me about their mental health issues - I’m totally fine with this and would prefer they told me than suffered in silence. Speak to your tutor OP - hopefully they will be able to help you.

SpiceRat Thu 25-Feb-21 12:12:54

Oh and I was a mature student too and never once felt more judged or disregarded because of it. Age doesn't discriminate when it comes to mental health issues.

CalmandSereneNot Thu 25-Feb-21 12:15:49

I'm a mature student too, and have recently been diagnosed with anxiety / panic attacks etc. .I told my personal tutor and he (who is usually very 'fierce') was really sympathetic and understanding, and encouraged me to apply for extensions etc which has helped.. So yes, I would tell them. Good luck with your studies!

Bluegalaxy Thu 04-Mar-21 16:44:33

My ds is having a similar dilemma OP - he's in 3rd year and massively struggling with his dissertation (had one 20 min call so far with his supervisor and no feedback and it's a topic he's never covered before) plus recordings of last year's lectures to watch if he's lucky for other modules. He's finally raised his concerns with his personal tutor today (who has not been in contact all year). I'd rather he took a leave of absence and started the year again in sept than struggle on but I don't know if that's allowed. I really feel for all students this year - the amount of stress you are all under (and lack of uni support in some cases) is ridiculous. Hope you get the support you need too...

Springquartet Fri 05-Mar-21 20:01:09

It is worth doing, so that this is on record, but I think that you would need to judge whether it would worthwhile by the quality of contact that you've had with them already. My dd was at a well-respected Russell Group university and had very little contact with her personal tutor. When she tried to raise an issue with her personal tutor, he was useless as were the student well-being team. This and lockdown made her reconsider her options - and she restarted at a smaller university. The teaching staff are far more receptive to contact and respond to any queries really quickly. I definitely think that there must be something in the culture of the two universities that has influenced their propensity to respond,

CoffeeWithCheese Sun 07-Mar-21 12:49:17

I think it depends on the dynamic of the course as well to be honest - I'm a mature student and my mental health basically collapsed completely over the Christmas covid crackdown and then schools closing... I contacted my tutor and very quickly we had a plan in place to tweak the timing of my modules to reduce the load for this term just nearly done and give me some space to recover a bit. Having said that - my course is very very close knit and a very small cohort (there's only just above 30 of us) and we have such a small number of lecturers that they all get to know us very well and can spot when people are off kilter as well. I made clear I was perfectly fine with my problems being passed on to the other teaching staff in the department so they all know I've been like this - and they've all been really fantastic - I can't praise my department highly enough for how they've been through all of this.

I actually really can't fault the way the uni has supported me to be honest - although I've been the one who's chased down the support - when I've found the services and made contact they have really done everything they can to help.

Blyatiful Tue 16-Mar-21 19:35:07

@Springquartet I wonder if that is the university my daughter is at. She’s on her year abroad and has been in self isolation for much of it. She contacted her personal tutor to say she was worried about failing the year as the only French person she saw was the cashier at Auchan, and was just told she needed to work harder on her own and do at least seven hours grammar practice a week.

menotastic Tue 16-Mar-21 21:31:07

My DD and her friend from a different uni would both advise turning to the uni support services rather than anyone within your academic department. Obviously it depends hugely on the specifics, but a personal tutor could potentially force your hand and make you take time out and repeat the year against your will. If you can find someone in a uni mental health team not connected with your department, the help you get might be more confidential and under your own control.

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