How to take Action if a Student is at Risk

What does 'student at risk' mean?

The main example of 'a student at risk' that there is an immediate danger of students harming themselves or somebody else. Another example for risk is when students live under circumstances in which they could come to serious harm (for instance violence, abuse in the family).

How do you know that a student is at risk?

It is often difficult to tell whether or not a student should be classified as being at risk. Here are some possible indicators that a student may be at risk:

  • The student talks to you (or others) about suicidal thoughts and intentions.
  • The student appears extremely distressed, overly aggressive, extremely withdrawn etc.
  • The student's statements (also their written work)  appear violent, paranoid or delusional.
  • Noticeable 'oddities' in the student's speech: racing speech, incomprehensible sentences etc.

>> For more details about risk assessment, click here

Note: You are not responsible for accurately assessing the risk of the student. If you are seriously concerned about a student, refer the student on.

What to do if you feel a student may be at risk?

  • Make a referral. Tell the student openly that you are very concerned about them and that they must see either a counsellor or a medical professional. Insist on them seeking help.
  • If they are unwilling to accept help, tell them openly that you will have to take steps yourself to help them. Contact (preferably in their presence) the DIT counselling service, the medical centre or the student's GP.
  • If the counselling or medical services are unavailable or the student point blank refuses to use them, try to contact the student's next of kin. Again, try to involve the student in the decision who would be the best person to contact.

>> Read more details about what to do if students are at risk

Note: Dealing with students at risk can be extremely stressful. Please do seek support for yourself by ringing the counselling service on 402 3352 (Gabby Lynch), email gabbylynch@dit.ie , or contact one of our counsellors directly.

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