Faculty and Staff as Helping Resources for Students
Because of your position and visibility on campus as a member of UNE's faculty or staff, you may encounter distressed students who need assistance. Being aware of distress signals and sources of help for students can make you feel more confident in handling these situations. You will not be able to spot every such student, nor will every student be willing to accept your assistance. Nevertheless, you may play an important role in helping a student use the resources available at UNE to better cope with the challenges of college life and young adulthood.
Recognizing Troubled Students
COmmon Warning Signs of a TROUBLED STUDENT
- Departure from normal or socially appropriate behavior
- Major changes in personal relationships
- References to suicide or self harm
- Excessive absences or inconsistent class/work attendance
- Signs of intoxication
- Depressed mood lasting longer than a few days
- Disruptive or attention seeking behavior
- Behavior that is disoriented, out of touch
- Serious grade problems or change from consistently good grades
- Unexpected chronic physical symptoms
What Can You Do?
- Always keep safety in mind as you interact with a troubled student. If danger to you, the student, or other University personnel seems near at hand, call SECURITY at extension 366.
- Listen to the student's description of the problem. Take a calm, matter of fact approach. Ask direct questions.
- Let the student know that his or her situation does not have to reach crisis proportions before seeking help.
- Don't assume the student is just trying to get attention or relief from responsibility.
- When in doubt, consult. Get in touch with a Student Counseling Center clinical staff member who can help you assess the seriousness of the situation, provide information about resources and options, decide how to begin referral, and consider how you can be most effective in helping the student.
Options for Making a Referral
- Suggest the student set up an appointment during Student Counseling Center reception hours. Remind the student that services are free and confidential.
- Suggest the student arrange an appointment from your office.
- Call the Student Counseling Center yourself while the student is with you.
- If the student is in crisis, consider offering to accompany the student to the Student Counseling Center.
Know Your Limits
While you can help many students by simply listening and referring them, some will need much more support than you can provide. Accept that you may be out of your depth. Some indications that you may have over-extended yourself might include:
- Feeling stressed/overwhelmed by the situation
- Feeling angry with the student
- Having thoughts of "adopting" or otherwise rescuing the student
- "Reliving" similar experiences of your own
Counseling is a personal choice. If the student disagrees with your referral or refuses to seek assistance, and you still feel uncomfortable with the situation, consult a clinician in the Student Counseling Center. Because of confidentiality, counselors cannot provide information about a student's participation in services. However, the student may share information with you if you choose to follow up directly with him or her.