This section looks at the characteristics of supportive relationships and a range of family, friendship and personal relationship issues that may affect your advisees.
For many reasons students may find their relationships with those they are closest to can be challenging and this can impact on their emotional wellbeing and even personal safety. Queen Mary offers a wide range of support services to help the practical and emotional implications that may result from relationship problems.
When discussing relationships with students it may be helpful to note that the components of a healthy relationship are;
- Respect – not being put-down, each person having the right to have an opinion, to be listened to and being able to voice what they think and feel
- Honesty - openness about thoughts, feelings and actions.
- Safety - feeling safe from physical, emotional, sexual or other forms of harm.
- Equality - a balance of power where neither party feels powerless or more powerful than the other.
- Consistency - always knowing where they stands.
- Value - feeling valued and valuing the other person.
- Security and loyalty - feeling safe that both parties value the relationship.
- Empathy - each party listening and understanding one another, being able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
- Genuineness – it is a human, natural and honest relationship.
Relationships without these components can be distressing.
Estranged Students and Care Experienced Students
The Advice and Counselling Service offers specialist advice for any student without family contact (estranged), or students who are considering breaking contact with their family and need help understanding practically how they could live independently, as well as needing emotional support. If you are working with applicants and offer holders it is particularly helpful if they seek this support early to help them transition to university, but they can also access it throughout their course. There are dedicated web pages explaining the available support for:
Asylum seekers and refugees
Students from a forced migration background might also be without family in the UK. Students with a refugee or asylum background can access specialist support from the Advice and Counselling website.
Confidential support is available for students who are either experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse. This support is explained in detail on the Advice and Counselling Service website. It includes Welfare Advice support with practical matters such as seeking alternative accommodation if the student decides to leave and accessing financial support. Students in a situation of domestic abuse will often also need academic advice about their options if they are not able to focus on their studies. Students can also use the Counselling Service for emotional support. All of this support is available whatever stage someone is at – often students need support to understand how they could leave the situation of domestic abuse. Students can access external specialist support around domestic abuse on Queen Mary's Report and Support pages. There is also the option to make a report to the University, either anonymously or with contact details.
Confidential support is available for students who are at risk of forced marriage, or who have been forcibly married. This support is explained in detail on the Advice and Counselling website. It includes Welfare Advice support with practical matters such as seeking alternative accommodation and accessing financial support. Students can also use the Counselling Service for emotional support. Students can access external specialist support around forced marriage on Queen Mary's Report and Support pages. There is also the option to make a report to the University, either anonymously or with contact details.
Students with children and Students who are pregnant
Students with children and students who are pregnant may need additional financial support as well as emotional and practical support. Queen Mary Advice and Counselling offers a range of support for students in this situation. See also Advice and Counselling’s support for student parents needing to find and pay for childcare including prospective students.
Studying and Being a Carer
Students that are carers frequently don’t identify as carers. Their caring responsibilities may have increased gradually over time or been a longstanding part of their life. Often a student in this position may need practical financial advice as well as and emotional support with coping with the challenges of their responsibilities.
The welfare advice team in the Advice and Counselling Service have created a webpage for students with caring responsibilities which outlines the support that students with caring responsibilities can access both within Queen Mary and externally.
Personal relationships & friendships
Having healthy personal relationships and friendships is often a by-product of the value you place on yourself.
For students much can be at stake when their friends or partner are also course mates or flatmates. Our Advice and Counselling Service can help in difficult situations; however, the following advice may also be useful to students who are struggling:
For students living on campus where challenges arise with a flatmate, Residential Support can offer flatmate mediation.