Supporting staff to support our students



Teaching & Learning
Student Support
Staff Support

Academic or professional staff are often the first port of call when a student needs help. These issues may not be study-related. A student may also come to you when they’re struggling with personal difficulties – from relationship problems to mental health issues. In situations that aren’t related to your area of expertise, it can be hard to know how, or even if, to help the student and where to direct them for professional help.

This is why the Student Support and Referral portal was developed. Launched earlier this year, the portal is part of our ongoing commitment to prioritising the health and wellbeing of our entire University community. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important to know how to direct students to the most appropriate kind of assistance. The challenge of dealing with stay-at-home restrictions, online study, and difficult financial, emotional and personal circumstances is affecting a large number of the Deakin community.

If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to explore this online resource, which gathers together a range of important information, including:

  • How to deal with a student emergency or a student in distress.
  • Direct referral paths to priority services, including sexual harm, problem student behaviour, counselling and psychological support, medical services, international student support, multiple or complex student needs, disability support, student misconduct and complaints.
  • Advice on what services are available and how students can access them.
  • Links to helpful tools, apps articles and resources that help students to manage their own needs, where appropriate.

You can access the Student Support and Referral portal directly or find it in the new DeakinHub intranet under Support and services > Supporting students > Helping students in distress. We encourage you to bookmark it for future use.

Online resources for students

Student Wellbeing Liaison Service

The Student Wellbeing Liaisons support staff to de-escalate student distress and identify their support needs. In some cases, they will assess a student for any further health and wellbeing needs, and provide appropriate support and referral options. The service is located within the Health and Wellbeing Centres and is available to support staff via phone.

If you’re supporting a student in distress and require further advice and support – but it is not an emergency situation – contact the Student Wellbeing Liaisons on 9244 5970. Referrals will be prioritised based on the level of urgency.

What to do when you suspect there may be a missing student

On occasion students may have unexpected absences or may be thought to be missing. University staff members may become aware of this directly or through communication via a student’s friends, family members, overseas agents, outside organisations or emergency services. All missing student concerns should be taken seriously and escalated to immediately. To support staff in responding to concerns or reports of missing students enrolled at Deakin, we have developed Responding to Reports of Missing Students Guidelines.

Safer Community will provide initial advice and support to staff and external referrers in relation to matters involving missing students and are available for consultation Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm on 9244 3734 or email

In addition to being available via a search of the Deakin Policy Library, the guidelines can also be accessed via the Student Support and Referral Portal or download the PDF.

Want new articles before they get published? Subscribe to our DTeach Newsletter.