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Faculty and Staff as a Helping Resource. Presented by: Barbara Byers, M.S., CCAC, LPC Director of Counseling Shepherd University . We Remember. Today’s Students (National College Health Assessment, 2007).

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faculty and staff as a helping resource

Faculty and Staff as a Helping Resource

Presented by:

Barbara Byers, M.S., CCAC, LPC

Director of Counseling

Shepherd University

today s students national college health assessment 2007
Today’s Students(National College Health Assessment, 2007)
  • The number of students entering college with a prior psychiatric history or a documented disability continues to increase.
  • Many chronic psychiatric disorders present for the first time in late adolescence or early adulthood.
suicide statistics
Suicide Statistics
  • Nearly 1,100 suicides are projected to occur on college campuses this year.
  • 80% of college student suicides were never clients of the college counseling center.
  • Suicide is the second leading killer in the college population.
  • One in 12 US college students will make a suicide plan.
  • About 12 young people aged 15-24 will commit suicide today.

- The Jed Foundation

what can make this a difficult time
What Can Make This a Difficult Time?

Lack adequate coping skills

Age of onset of mental illness


Social pressures and experimentation


Substance Abuse

Difficulties adjusting

Family history of mental illness

New and unfamiliar environment

Feeling lonely

Failed relationships

Feelings of failure or decreased performance


Grief and Loss

Learning to balance family and school

recognizing students in distress
Recognizing Students in Distress

Stress is a natural part of life and a common occurrence in the life of a college student. While many students are able to cope successfully with the many facets of college life, others become overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or turn to alcohol and other drugs.

Often the emotional and behavioral consequences are played out in the classroom, residence halls, or campus offices.

faculty and staff as helping resources
Faculty and Staff as Helping Resources
  • Faculty and Staff are in a good position to recognize students who are in distress
  • We often see situations that concern us, but we don’t know what to do. We struggle with issues related to “supporting” students. What is appropriate? What is too much of not enough?
it is important to refer a student to counseling services for early intervention

It is important to refer a student to Counseling Services for Early Intervention

We hope that this presentation will provide information to enable you to better assist these students

if you notice changes in behavior or appearance

If you notice changes in behavior or appearance

A student is depressed

A student is unable to control emotions and/or behavior

A student’s weight and/or eating behavior is of concern

A student comes to class intoxicated or hung over

A student appears to be in an abusive relationship

A student is having difficulty grieving a loss

Whenever you are concerned about a student, even if the problem is unclear … REFER

cognitive mental warning signs

Cognitive/Mental Warning Signs:

Decreased concentration

Sudden change in class performance

Increased disorganization

Hyperactivity or tangential speech

Says things that disturb you


Creating a Safety Net





Student Affairs

Inpatient Programs

Community Agencies

Academic Program

Residential Life

Private Referrals

Substance Abuse Tx

Campus Safety

Student Services

Law Enforcement

Religious Organization

Student Counseling

how to talk to students about your concerns non emergency

How to Talk to Students About Your Concerns (non-emergency)

Privacy – Talk in private when you and the student have time and are not preoccupied.

Honesty – Be frank about your concerns, sharing what you observe without judging.

Limits – Be clear about the limits of your ability to help. It is not your role or responsibility to counsel students, but you can help them get the support that they need.

how to talk to students about your concerns continued

How to Talk to Students About Your Concerns (continued)

Suggest that a student seek help instead of telling or ordering them to.

Inform the student of our counseling services and tell them that students visit Shepherd’s Counseling Center for a variety of reasons.

Timing – If a student is receptive to seeing a counselor provide them with our phone number: 304-876-5161, offer them access to your phone so they can make an appointment, or accompany them to our Counseling Center.

how to talk to students about your concerns continued1

How to Talk to Students About Your Concerns (continued)

“Sounds like you are really struggling with________”

Many people find it helpful to talk with someone

in confidence who is outside of the situation.”

“I want to help you get the help you need and deserve”

“Give the Counseling Center a try. You have nothing to lose.”

“Meeting with a counselor is confidential and will not go on your academic record.”

“These are services your tuition pays for; take advantage of them.”

tips for professors prevention

Tips for Professors: Prevention

Model and expect students to utilize good stress management skills ( adequate sleep, eating healthy etc).

Offer “stress-buster mini-workshops” during high stress times of the semester. We are is glad to come to your classes or arrange one for your department.

Phrase feedback positively whenever possible.

Understand that some students lack basic “life skills” and have delayed development in many areas.

tips for professors prevention1

Tips for Professors: Prevention

Refer students for time management and study skills workshops.

Check in with your students regularly and create a climate where it is safe for students to come to you if they are getting “overwhelmed” in class.

Encourage use of office hours and tutor sessions.

Consult with a counselor as needed for feedback- we are here to support you and the student!

tips for professors prevention2

Tips for Professors: Prevention

Create opportunities for “connections” in your classroom and work to engage the withdrawn or socially isolated student.

Encourage involvement in student events and campus organizations.

Consider adding a class service opportunity as a requirement or for extra credit to further build community/connections.

Encourage students with disabilities to self-identify and utilize accommodations.

emergency warning signs suicide risk imminent ulifeline com

Emergency Warning Signs: Suicide Risk Imminent (ulifeline.com)


Means for completion

Premeditation leads to CALM

*** Call 911 ***

tips for professors possible emergencies

Tips for Professors: Possible Emergencies

We recommend that you refer behavioral concerns to the Dean or Asst. Dean of Students or call a counselor for advice. A counselor is always on call and available by phone via the Health Center or Campus Police.

If you ever feel unsafe or are unsure of how to respond, Call Campus Police. They will contact someone from the counseling center if they determine it necessary to consult or have someone present.

Students may also be referred to the Crisis Team.

crisis team
Crisis Team

This is a team that meets weekly to present students or situations of concern and plan a course of action to support the student or de-escalate a potential crisis.

Members: Dean, Asst. Dean, RLO, Police, Health Center, Counseling

after hours emergencies
After Hours Emergencies

Call 911

Campus Police monitor all calls and will respond.

aca counseling profession governing code
ACA Counseling Profession Governing Code

B.1.c. Respect for Confidentiality

Counselors do not share confidential information without client consent or without sound legal or ethical justification.

  • Danger to self oridentified others
  • Court orders
  • Mandated reporting
  • Disclosures are limited to essential information
aca counseling profession governing code continuation
ACA Counseling Profession Governing Code (continuation)

A.11.b. Inability to Assist Clients

If counselors determine an inability to be of professional assistance to clients, they avoid entering or continuing counseling relationships. Counselors are knowledgeable about culturally and clinically appropriate referral resources and suggest these alternatives. If clients decline the suggested referrals, counselors should discontinue the relationship.

shepherd university counseling services

Gardiner Hall, Ground Floor

(access through the Health Center)

Barbara Byers: (304) 876-5276

Rhonda Jackson: (304) 876-5681

For an Appt. Call (304) 876-5161