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

Case Studies and Discussion Scenarios

Case study 7

Context

Residential trip, hotel accommodation, UK.

Mental health difficulty

The student did not cope well with staying in a hotel which was obviously not their home territory. They fluctuated between being (1) self-pitying, (2) boisterous and happy, (3) aggressive. Eventually they attempted to push several students down a very steep slope.

Known by tutor at the time?

Not really. I knew the student was a little odd from my experience of them in the class room, but they seemed pleasant enough and quite bright. I found out afterwards that they suffered from schizophrenia (the student informed me of this at a later date).

Brief outline of responses made at the time

Luckily one of the group was a mature student with police training and he took control of the student in the incident above. Staff did not witness the incident and were informed by students later. I asked the student involved what had happened, to which I received no response. I also spoke to the other students and they confirmed the incident. I sought advice from a senior member of staff by telephone and the other helpers on the trip. This was the last day of the trip and we drove the student home with us. I reported to this to our head of department.

On reflection, could the situation have been managed differently, and how could fieldwork planning, or communication with the student(s) or professionals before (or during) the events assisted?

You tell me! I think we managed fairly well considering I was unaware of the illness.

Page updated 14 December 2001

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