Helping someone in distress

Worried about someone?

If you think someone is in immediate danger, the quickest way to get help is to call an ambulance on 999. If you are on university premises, you will also need to call security on 0161 306 9966. Give your location and tell them that an ambulance is on its way. Alternatively, if you are on campus, you can use your SAFEZONE app.

If you are worried about a student or colleague and it is not an emergency, try first to help them to talk things through by actively listening. Here are some tips to help with active listening:


Listen: Listen to their concerns attentively and take their problems seriously. Try to use open questions and listen patiently to their reply. Avoid taking control, interrupting or giving advice. Check with them that you have understood. Express your concerns.

Empathise: Put yourself in their position and communicate your understanding of their situation and feelings (for example, “It sounds like you are feeling really overwhelmed by your work at the moment”). Check for accuracy.

Agree (or agree to disagree): Find what you can agree upon and try to focus on their view of the problem. Support them to consider the advantages and disadvantages of support. If need be, agree to disagree on some things.

Plan / Partner: Try to decide on what you do next together. Use phrases that support.

Contacting us on their behalf: Sometimes people may be reluctant to seek help or may agree to contact us, but later change their mind as the impetus to act and the motivation to seek help fades. So it’s a good idea, if you think it is possible in the circumstances, to ask their permission to contact University services on their behalf. We can then follow up when appropriate, without breaching the person’s confidentiality.

Seeking advice and support: If you are particularly concerned about someone and feel unsure what to do, please get in touch with our team via e-mail ( or phone (tel: 0161 275 2864) outlining your specific concerns and someone will get back to you.

Halls of Residence: If you live in a University owned Halls of Residence, you may wish to encourage the person to contact the Residential Life Team in the first instance – or contact them yourself for advice. Details of the Residential Life Team attached to your Halls of Residence can be found on the poster in the flat kitchen (or e-mail

Reporting harassment: If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed a micro-aggression or any form of harassment, discrimination or hate you can report it anonymously or report it and get support from an advisor via our Advice and Response Service.

Getting support for ourselves: Sometimes supporting others can have an impact on us. It’s often most effective to deal with this by doing the things that usually make you feel good. That could be socialising with friends, engaging in sport or other activity and generally taking time to look after ourselves. However, if this is not effective and you feel you would benefit from emotional support, please see our homepage, which contains details of all the workshops and services we offer as well as how to get in touch.