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Response to a person in Crisis

Cardiff University is committed to providing a supportive learning environment to both students and staff, whilst promoting wellbeing and enabling everyone to engage in all aspects of life at University. We understand that from time to time individuals need support to help them cope with the pressures of life, including personal, emotional or mental wellbeing support.

The University has a limited number of professional staff available to offer confidential advice and support to staff and students, including advice and guidance professionals, counsellors, a mental health adviser and health centre professionals. They can assist an individual to manage their situation and provide them with coping mechanisms. It is important to encourage an individual to seek assistance with these resources before a crisis situation emerges.

Unfortunately crisis situations do arise (although rarely) and as a friend, personal tutor or member of staff you may be the first to encounter an individual in distress or a crisis situation. Crisis situations involving an individual can be triggered by many reasons and take many forms. A few examples of potential crisis situations are listed below by way of illustration.

  • an individual making violent threats against others or exhibiting extremely disruptive behaviour
  • an individual has been sexually assaulted, abused or is being stalked
  • an individual’s behaviour has become outside of their control (they may be expressing themselves in a number of ways such as self-harm, exhibiting behaviour which is bizarre or indicative of a mental health issue)
  • an individual talking about suicide

When faced with a crisis it is important to stay calm, listen, adopt a non-threatening and non-judgemental approach, and engage common sense in order to best deal with the individual situation. If you are faced with a crisis the “What should I do when someone is in crisis?” chart will guide you through the steps to take. The overriding emphasis is to stay calm, act in an understanding and respectful manner, try to understand the situation, do not underestimate the potential seriousness of a situation, and seek appropriate support from trained professionals.


Cardiff University has several policies and initiatives aimed at promoting wellbeing, equality and diversity in the workplace. Please select the following links to find out more about these: