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Anxiety can sometimes be considered as a healthy emotional response to threat and it helps us to deal adequately with a range of situations. However, when people suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), they have regular or uncontrolled worries about many different things in everyday life. This feeling of anxiety is often triggered by hypothetical thoughts and worries about the future.

A student may have GAD if:

  • Their worrying is significantly affecting their daily life, including study, work and social life.
  • Their worries are extremely stressful and upsetting to them.
  • They worry about lots of things and have a tendency to think the worst.
  • Their worrying is uncontrollable.
  • They have felt worried nearly every day for at least 6 months.
  • They struggle to relax.

How they might feel

Someone who is feeling anxious may:

  • Feel restless
  • Have a sense of dread
  • Feel constantly “on edge”
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Be irritable
  • Experience dizziness
  • feel tired
  • Have a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Have muscle aches and tension
  • Experience trembling or shaking
  • Have a dry mouth
  • Experience excessive sweating
  • Have shortness of breath
  • Have stomach ache
  • Feel sick
  • Have headaches
  • Have pins and needles
  • Have difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)

Things you might observe

If someone is feeling anxious you may notice some of the following behaviour/symptoms:

  • Constantly worrying and seeking reassurance
  • Difficulty to make decision
  • Panic attacks or shortness of breath
  • On the edge unable to relax
  • Tired and not sleeping
  • Overeating or not eating much
  • Changes in weight (weight gain or weight loss)
  • Tearful or distressed
  • Avoiding social situations – isolating themselves

Watch the video from Jayne Faraday (Inclusion Manager at EHU) talking about anxiety and ways to support students when their anxiety is affecting their day-to-day life or aspects of their course. Jayne provides advice around ‘reasonable adjustments’ using some common examples.

If a student requires support but is not at immediate risk:

  • Validate and accept how the student is feeling “I can see you’re worried about this assignment”.
  • Identify what is making the student anxious.
  • Allow the student to consider solutions that may help them by asking open questions “What would help you to feel less anxious?” or “What part of the course is making you feel most worried?”
  • Identify what practical support could be considered to support the student and help to reduce their anxiety for example: reduce anxiety around their coursework or workload by helping them create a plan of practical solutions and agree to review their progress in two or three weeks.
  • It may be helpful to allocate the student into groups rather than leaving them to find their own group or may be helpful to support the student to ‘buddy up’ (if they wish to) with other students to attend lectures or groups.
  • If the student requires referral for specific issues, for example, they are struggling with money worries, have an accommodation issue or their issues are complex, then consider the routes in the ‘How to Refer’ section. Seek the student’s consent to refer and explain that they can also self-refer to Student Services.
  • Make sure the student is aware of how to contact the Wellbeing team and what they should do if at any point they feel they cannot keep themselves safe.
  • Ask the student if they are registered with a GP. If they are not, the Wellbeing webpages have information on registering with a local GP. If they are, recommend that the student makes an appointment.

Be mindful that students with GAD might be considered to have a disability and therefore reasonable adjustments, such as exam modifications, might be a legal requirement. If you believe this might be the case then contact the Inclusion team for advice and guidance on 01695 657568 (extension 7568) as to how you should implement them.

If you are unsure of how to support a student or concerned that a student might be at risk, contact the Wellbeing team on 01695 650988 (extension 7265) for advice.

  • Don’t dismiss the student’s worries, such as “Try not to worry” or “Don’t be silly”.
  • Don’t minimise their problems and worries, including “There are bigger things to be worried about than this!”
  • Don’t assume that the student requires specialist support for anxiety, particularly if their anxiety is related to normal everyday worries and isn’t affecting their day-to-day life. The student may just need a listening ear.
  • Don’t promise confidentiality.
  • Don’t feel you have to provide specialist support to the student if they do require this for more complex issues.

Refer a student if:

  • You feel you can no longer provide practical advice or support to the student.
  • You feel the student requires more specialist support.
  • You feel the student is at immediate risk to themselves or others.

If you believe the student is an imminent risk to themselves or others, ideally do not let them leave your office or teaching room. Contact the Catalyst Helpdesk on 01695 650800 (extension 7800) and ask them to put you through to the Duty Wellbeing Adviser in Student Services. If it is out of hours, contact Campus Support on extension 01695 584227 (extension 4227).

If a student is an immediate risk to themselves, you do not need the consent of the student to contact Student Services.

Team NameSupport OfferedContact Details
Academic RegistryProvide advice on and processing of course changes: transferring course/university, repeating a year, module changes, changing mode of study,

01695 584803
Accommodation teamProvide advice/guidance about accommodation both on and off campus, including hall fee

01695 650800
Campus LifeEnsure that students live in a safe/secure environment on campus. Promote and organise events to help students make the most of their time here and administrate the Disciplinary

01695 657570
Campus SupportProvides 24/7 support and security on campus.01695 584227
CareersProvide advice and support with career planning, job hunting, CV writing, volunteering and maximising work

01695 650800
ChaplaincyProvides both staff and students of all faiths and none with pastoral support. Activities/events focus on friendship, community, support and

01695 650800
Counselling (assessed through the Wellbeing team)Referral always via the Wellbeing team. Also provide group workshops and 1:1 therapeutic support to help students find solutions to issues they are

01695 650988
Disability and InclusionProvide advice and support for students with physical/sensory/mental health, autism spectrum disorders or other additional needs. Also provide advice and guidance on reasonable adjustments and support available. Support for specific learning needs – including dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD can be found via the Library and Learning Services SpLD

01695 657568

01695 650800

Law clinicProvide a free clinic to all staff and students run by Year 3 law students who can advise on legal questions or difficulties such as support with housing contract and employment law for example.Law Clinic
Money AdviceProvide advice on all money-related matters including student funding, budgeting, and the Student Support

01695 650800
Students’ UnionProvides representation for students and promotes and hosts activities/events. Provides advice and support to students on various issues including academic, housing, and

01695 657327
Student Support TeamTargeted support for Care Experienced and Estranged Students (CEES). Advice and support for all students who are thinking of leaving or at risk of withdrawing or being withdrawn.

01695 650800
Wellbeing teamFirst contact for mental health concerns. Practical advice, support and signposting for any issue impacting on a student’s

01695 650988

If a student is an immediate risk to themselves, you do not need the consent of the student to contact Student Services.

Useful links and information

For more information about anxiety, follow the links below.

Support and self-help resources for students

There are a range of self-help resources available for students including self-help apps, NHS screening tools and wellbeing activities students can do. Please see below for more information.

Register today for free

Mental health support.
24/7. Confidential.
Online Community.

For more details please refer to our T&C during registration


Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) – 24/7 mental health support for students

A range of workshops are available for students delivered by the Wellbeing team – for more information follow the link below:

Staff E-learning resources

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust provides information about suicide and online learning around understanding suicide within the higher education context. It also provides various online training modules for how to support students in crisis or those at risk of suicide.

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

Staff training at Edge Hill University

The Mental Health Awareness Workshop is a new workshop designed to support staff to support students with their mental health. The workshop is a practical session and encourages staff to consider helpful ways to talk to students when they have an issue, to consider appropriate and professional boundaries, and provides the opportunity to discuss real case studies in order to better understand how and when to refer students for support. Other sessions that may be useful are Professional Boundaries, Introduction to Resilience, Unconscious Bias, and Mindfulness training. To book a place on any of these sessions please follow the link.

Back to the mental health toolkit homepage