Helping Distressed Students Michael B. Brown, Associate Dean Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Travis Lewis, Director of Student Safety & Services Dean of Students Office
Students in Distress • Students face increasing stressors during college. • Faculty & staff are in a good position to identify students who have problems. • There are resources available once you identify a student in need.
Distressed Behavior Behavior resulting from psychological problems, stress, or crises that interfere with their ability to learn.
Distressed Behavior • Repeated requests for special consideration, extensions, etc. • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses • Withdrawal from activities or friends
Distressed Behavior • Significant change in sleep or eating patterns • Declining academic performance • Excessive absences, especially if attendance was previously consistent • Perfectionism, procrastination, or excessive worrying
Distressed Behaviors • Markedly changed patterns of interaction (avoiding participation or dominating discussion) • Erratic behavior • Indications of alcohol or drug use interfering with academic or social performance • Sleeping in class
Serious Distressed Behaviors • Depressed mood • Marked changes in personal hygiene • Falling asleep in class • Excessively active and talkative • Difficulty communicating • Slurred, disjointed, or incoherent speech • Loss of contact with reality
Serious Distressed Behaviors • Seeing/hearing things that do not exist • Persistent peculiar thoughts • Suicidal thoughts, jokes or intentions • Indirect threats to self or others • Expressing hopelessness or helplessness
Helping Distressed Students • Listen • Give basic advice • Make referrals to campus resources • Contact the Dean of Students Office via ECU Cares 737-5555
Helping Distressed Students • Most distressed students welcome help • Talk to the student in private • Express your concern in nonjudgmental terms “I've noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned”
Helping Distressed Students • Listen in a sensitive, non-threatening way • Avoid early reassurance or attempt to provide a solution • Communicate understanding to student by repeating back the gist of what the student has said.
Helping Distressed Students • Avoid judging, evaluating, or criticizing. Respect the student’s value system, even if you disagree with it. • Provide information about resources • Ask for some agreement to refer to another campus resource
When to Make a Referral • The student is in crisis • The behavior is beyond your skill level • The behavior persists • The behavior is getting worse • You are unsure of how to proceed • You want to talk with someone about your observations or concerns
How to Make a Referral • Summarize your observations about the student’s behavior • Express your concern about student’s distress • Assure the student that seeking help does not mean they are “crazy” • Make phone call from your office to help student make an appointment with resource
ECU Cares • Reporting system to get assistance for persons with behaviors of concern • Not a replacement for emergency responders!! • Operated by Dean of Students Office • Reports can be anonymous • ECU Cares phone line: 737-5555 • Online reporting form: www.ecu.edu/ecucares
Resources for Assistance • Counseling & Student Development 328-6661 • Student Health Services 328-6841 • Student Rights & Responsibilities 328-6824 • Dean of Students Office 329-9297 • ECU Cares 737-5555 • ECU Police 9-1-1 or 328-6787 (non-emergency) • Academic resources (Pirate Tutoring, advisors, department chairs and associate deans)
University Behavioral Concerns Team • ECU’s Threat Assessment Team • Meets weekly throughout the year • Composed of student affairs professionals, faculty, university administrators • Receives reports of concerning behavior through: • team members directly; • Referrals from faculty/staff/students • the ECU Cares phone line (#737-5555) and webpage (www.ecu.edu/ecucares).
UBCT Process • The UBCT is convened to conducts an assessment of the student and his/her situation • After the assessment the UBCT plans and coordinates interventions to ensure that students: • receive any necessary support services • help protect the campus community from the potential for targeted violence • After the assessment and interventions, continued case management to monitor progress
CARE Team • A subgroup of the UBCT • Coordinates interventions for distressed students with complex problems who do not present a threat to the campus community • Brings together multiple resources and case management coordination
Questions? Dr. Travis Lewis, Director for Student Safety & Services (252) 328-9297 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Michael B. Brown, Associate Dean Harriot College of Arts and Sciences (252) 328-4170 email@example.com