It can be daunting when a troubled student chooses to disclose to you. Dr Pooky Knightsmith advises how to talk so that young people who need your help will listen

When we’re worried about a student, we often want to reach out to them and start a discussion about their mental or emotional wellbeing – but we can sometimes find ourselves unsure how to start.

A frequent concern is that we might make things worse or push them away in our attempt to draw them closer.
To help you feel more confident starting sensitive conversations, I spoke to students and asked them to reflect on what they had found most helpful.

“She listened, and I mean really listened. She didn’t interrupt me or ask me to explain myself or anything, she just let me talk and talk and talk. I had been unsure about talking to anyone but I knew quite quickly that I’d chosen the right person to talk to and that it would be a turning point.”

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