Providing Learning Support for Students with Mental Health Difficulties Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

In the Field

Organising the field course and making special arrangements

Information provided by students prior to the course can help you to minimise the effects of any problems that they have. The students themselves are usually the best source of information about their difficulties and anxieties and how best to alleviate them. In some circumstances, particularly when you suspect that there may be a problem but the student is unwilling to talk about it or admit it, it may be appropriate to ask for advice from other staff that know the student to see if they have any concerns about the student’s well-being. Although counsellors or GPs will not reveal information about an individual student, they may well be able to give you general advice about the likely impact of particular illnesses and any action that you could take.

It is important to be as flexible as possible in making arrangements to suit individual needs, although you may require statements from a doctor, counsellor or psychiatrist if significant changes to what is normally expected of students are requested. You may also wish to ask for the agreement of a doctor, counsellor or psychiatrist for a student to take part in the field course if you are anxious about their safety (and the safety of others).

Any special arrangements that might be made will vary according to the specific nature of a student’s difficulty but might include some of the following:

Students with diagnosed mental illnesses may be able to access the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), which can be used to finance any special arrangements or pay for a helper or partner to accompany the student. Information about the DSA will be available from your institution’s disability unit or other student services, or from the DfES web site: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/studentsupport/uploads/Bridging2001.doc.

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock