Distress Recognition Training
Many students initially seek assistance from faculty or staff members. As such, you are in a unique position to recognize a student who is in need of help and lend them support. To lend support, it is essential to be well-informed of signs and symptoms of a student who may be in distress and how to respond. Completing an interactive training will help you increase your competence and confidence in knowing what to do when someone is struggling.
Take an online training
Counseling & Student Development Center staff are available to present lectures, workshops and programs to your group, organization or class.
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Identifying Student Stress
Here are some warning signs to take note of if you believe that a student may be having a hard time:
- Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared work, especially if inconsistent with previous work.
- Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed.
- Dependency (e.g., the student who hangs around or makes excessive appointments during office hours).
- Agitation; being disruptive, restless or hyperactive; being antagonistic.
- Listlessness, lack of energy or frequently falling asleep in class.
- Marked changes in personal hygiene.
- Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
- Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions).
- Threats to others.
- Expressed suicidal thoughts (e.g., referring to suicide as a current option).
- Excessive weight gain or loss.
- Behavior that regularly interferes with effective class management.
- Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive or aggressive behavior.
- Unable to make decisions despite your repeated efforts to clarify or encourage.
- Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate for the situation (e.g., talking to something/someone that is not present).
- Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful.
- Signs of intoxication during class, at work or other inappropriate times.
If you believe that the student may need counseling you may make a referral to the Counseling & Student Development Center.
How to Make a Referral to the Counseling & Student Development Center:
- You may suggest that students call or come in to make an appointment, and give them the office phone number and location. However, it is usually more effective to assist the student by calling for an appointment with the student present. When you reach the receptionist, identify yourself as a staff/faculty member and ask for an appointment for the student. The student’s name and ID number are required for the appointment. Write down the appointment time, date and counselor name for the student.
- If you feel the situation is an emergency or urgent enough to require immediate attention, after identifying yourself as staff, tell the receptionist that the student needs to speak with a counselor immediately. Give the receptionist the student’s name.
- It may be necessary for you to walk the student to our office.
- If you are concerned about a student but unsure about the appropriateness of a referral, feel free to call for a consultation.
Please note that due to confidentiality limitations, counselors cannot talk with you about the student, including whether or not the student follows through with counseling. When appropriate, counselors will attempt to secure a client’s permission to talk openly to other sources of support on campus (e.g., academic dean, dean of students).