While most students successfully cope with the challenges that college years bring, an increasing number of students find the various pressures of life unmanageable. As a member of the faculty and staff, you are in an excellent position to recognize the signs and symptoms of a student in distress.
A student’s behavior, especially if it is inconsistent with your previous observations, could be a “cry for help.” Many of these students have not sought out Counseling Services. Your role is crucial in identifying and referral of students who are in distress.
At times, in an attempt to reach or help a troubled student, you may become more involved than time or skill permits. It is important to know the boundaries and limitations of your intervention.
If you decide to take action, you should follow these guidelines when approaching a distressed student:
- Discuss your concerns with the student in private.
- Listen carefully, remembering not to interrupt or talk too much.
- Show concern and interest.
- Repeat back the essence of what the student has told you.
- Recognize that the student’s concerns are important to them even though they can seem trivial to others. Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
- Consider Counseling Services as a resource and discuss a referral with the student.
- If the student resists help and you are worried, consult with Counseling or Wellness staff to explore your concerns.
- Consider informing your supervisor or chair.
- Monitor how involved you are becoming. You can be a great resource for students, but it is easy to become overextended with students in need.
If you think you know a student who needs help, please complete the Student CARES Form. If you have an after-hours emergency, please call Campus Police at 864-833-8911, 911 or go to the Emergency Department of Laurens County Hospital.