For some, university can be a time in their lives when estrangement can take place. Most estranged students come from unstable family backgrounds and therefore going to university can sometimes feel like a relief.
However, estrangement is not something which is easy to deal with and is often accompanied by problems and concerns, for example it could impact your mental wellbeing or financial aspects could be an issue. Below you can find out more about estrangement and how the University can support you if you are estranged.
How/why does estrangement happen?
There are several reasons why estrangement could happen, it could be caused by a life-altering event taking place or it could have been due to ongoing family difficulties which finally lead to estrangement. It is a complicated process, and it is not an easy decision to make to cut ties with your family, sometimes it might not even be your choice. Everyone’s estrangement is different and there is no set way in how to deal with it. If you would like to read more about why and how other people became estranged, you can do on the StandAlone website.
How to take care of yourself
If you are estranged from your family, it can be difficult to take care of yourself. As everyone is different and everyone's situation is different, what works for some may not work for others. However, there are a few things which you can do to take care of yourself.
- Feel all the feelings - it is important that you allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. If you’re feeling relief then this is not something you should be ashamed of, if you’re feeling lost, alone or any other feeling then that is also OK. The most important thing to remember is to allow yourself to feel however you feel.
- Get the help you need – it might feel like you need to go through the estrangement by yourself, but that is not true. There are several ways in which you can get help in different ways and for different reasons. If you feel like your situation has impacted your mental wellbeing, you can contract the Mental Wellbeing team using the online referral form. If you would like financial guidance and support, you can contact the Student Advice and Support Service team using the online referral form. Alternatively, you can contact StandAlone, who aim to help estranged people, they offer advice and support for students, run support groups and much more, for more information about StandAlone, have a look at their website.
How can the University Support you?
The university can support you in a few ways if you are estranged. If you feel like the estrangement has impacted your mental wellbeing, you can get support from the Mental Wellbeing team by completing the Online Referral Form.
If you need advice related to finance or accommodation or other similar matters, you can get this from the Student Advice and Support Service team by contacting them using the Online Referral Form.
If you think the estrangement has impacted your studies, you should start off by contacting your academic tutor and get their advice.
What to do next?
Contact your Academic Tutor
Contact your academic tutor if you feel like your studies have been affected by the estrangement.
Submit a Mitigating Circumstances Claim
If you feel like your studies have been impacted by the estrangement, you can submit a mitigating circumstances claim. More information about submitting claims can be found in the Student Handbook.
What should I do if I am worried about somebody else?
If someone you know has been estranged from their family, there are a few things you can do to support them.
- Ask them if there is anything you can do to help when during this situation. You can also offer them to listen if they would like to talk about it. Some might want to discuss it with you while others may not want to. If they do want to talk to you then please remember that it is more important to listen than to give them advice.
- Help them get help if they should need it. This could be by encouraging them to contact the Mental Wellbeing team, the Student Advice and Support team or their personal tutor.
- If you have the option to and have discussed with your own family it might be nice to offer the person to go back to your house during the holidays. The holidays this be a very difficult period for them when most people go back to their families. If you do not feel comfortable by doing this or if it is not an option, you can ask them if they might need anything during the holiday period and encourage them to get in contact with other students staying on campus during the holidays. This way they will not be alone.
- Invite them when you do things, for example asking if they would like to join you if you're going for a walk or going to play a sport or even going to the library to study. Estranged student may often feel very lonely and therefore it can be nice for them to know that they are not alone. Sometimes this might just mean offering to sit with them so that they know they are not alone.
For more information about how you can help someone who is estranged, you can have a look at the StandAlone website.
Last Updated: 5th September 2022