Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition. It causes a range of different psychological symptoms. It is often described as a type of psychosis. This means the person may not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.
How they might feel
People living with schizophrenia can experience a variety of feelings/ symptoms such as:
- Hallucinations – hearing voices that feel real to the person.
- Delusions – believing something is happening that is not.
- Paranoia – people with schizophrenia may feel paranoid for example believing they are being followed or monitored.
- Feel confused.
- Feel ‘hazy’.
- Feeling suspicious, anxious, upset or angry.
Things you might observe
If you know someone who is living with schizophrenia you may observe some of the following symptoms or behaviour :
- Inappropriate or unpredictable behaviour.
- Talking about delusions – telling you something is happening and you know that it is not.
- Seem paranoid – behaving in a paranoid way or telling you about their paranoid beliefs – for example they are being watched or followed.
- Losing motivation in their day to day life.
- Lack of concentration.
- Changes to their sleep patterns.
- Not initiating conversations.
- Psychosis – becoming upset, distressed and overwhelmed or angry and suspicious.
Shania Hudson (Wellbeing Officer at EHU) discusses how you can support a student with schizophrenia, including by making reasonable adjustments.
If a student has a diagnosis of schizophrenia they should have a care plan in place where their health and medication are reviewed by experienced health and medical professionals.
- Ask the student if they are managing their condition effectively and if there is any support you can offer them.
- Ask the student if they have a care plan in place, and if they are receiving support from any other professionals.
- Ask the student if the Wellbeing team are aware of their diagnosis.
- If the Wellbeing team are not aware of the student’s diagnosis provide information to the student on how to self-refer to the Wellbeing team if they feel they would like any further support in managing their condition or if they would like them to liaise with any other professional services involved with their care.
- If the student does not want to be referred to wellbeing team and you don’t believe the student is at risk to themselves or others, ensure you provide them with the information of how to refer themselves for support.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Consider that Schizophrenia is a condition which may require reasonable adjustments to support the student with their studies. Contact the Inclusion team for advice on this if required on 01695 657568 (extension 7568).
- Don’t promise confidentiality.
- Don’t assume the student is at risk of being violent or aggressive. This is not a usual symptom of schizophrenia. Aggressive or violent behaviour is often a result of other things such as drug use or alcohol.
- Don’t feel that you need to provide specialist support to the student around their condition. If they are struggling, they will need a referral for additional support (with their consent).
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.
If a student is not at immediate risk to themselves but requires specialist support, you must obtain their consent to refer them to any of the following services as appropriate:
|Team Name||Support Offered||Contact Details|
|Academic Registry||Provide advice on and processing of course changes: transferring course/university, repeating a year, module changes, changing mode of study, appeals.||[email protected]|
|Accommodation team||Provide advice/guidance about accommodation both on and off campus, including hall fee queries.||[email protected]|
|Campus Life||Ensure 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 Regulations.||[email protected]|
|Campus Support||Provides 24/7 support and security on campus.||01695 584227|
|Careers||Provide advice and support with career planning, job hunting, CV writing, volunteering and maximising work experience||[email protected]|
|Chaplaincy||Provides both staff and students of all faiths and none with pastoral support. Activities/events focus on friendship, community, support and faith.||[email protected]|
|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 facing.||[email protected]|
|Disability and Inclusion||Provide 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 team.||[email protected]|
|Law clinic||Provide 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 Advice||Provide advice on all money-related matters including student funding, budgeting, and the Student Support Fund.||[email protected]|
|Students’ Union||Provides representation for students and promotes and hosts activities/events. Provides advice and support to students on various issues including academic, housing, and money.||[email protected]|
|Student Support Team||Targeted 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.||[email protected]|
|Wellbeing team||First contact for mental health concerns. Practical advice, support and signposting for any issue impacting on a student’s wellbeing.||[email protected]|
Students can self-refer to all of the above services and arrange appointments via the Catalyst Helpdesk.
Useful links and information
For more information about schizophrenia, follow the links below.
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.
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.
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Mental health support.
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