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Helping Distressed Students

Helping Distressed Students

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Helping Distressed Students

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  1. Helping Distressed Students Heidi Frie NDSU Counseling Center

  2. Rationale • The “Mental Health Crisis” on Campus • Some Statistics • “Gatekeeper” Concept

  3. Overview • Recognizing a “distressed” student • Helping a “distressed” student • Campus resources

  4. Recognizing Distressed Students • Marked Change in Academic Performance or Behavior • Poor performance and preparation • Excessive absences or tardiness • Repeated requests for special consideration especially when this represents a change from previous functioning • Avoiding participation • Dominating discussions • Excessively anxious when called upon • Disruptive behavior • Exaggerated emotional response that is obviously inappropriate to the situation

  5. Recognizing Distressed Students (cont.) • Unusual Behavior or Appearance • Depressed or lethargic mood • Hyperactivity or very rapid speech • Deterioration in personal hygiene or dress • Dramatic weight loss or gain • Strange or bizarre behavior indicating loss of contact with reality • Observable signs of an injury • Excessive worry, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness • Social isolation • Extreme difficulty making decisions

  6. Recognizing Distressed Students (cont.) • References to Emotional or Life Stressors • Problems with roommates, family, or romantic partners • Experiencing a death of a significant other • Experiencing a physical or sexual assault • Experiencing discrimination based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disabilities • Experiencing legal or financial difficulties • Any other problem or situation that is experienced as a loss or stress

  7. Recognizing Distressed Students (cont.) • References to Suicide, Homicide or Death • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness • Verbal or written references to suicide • Verbal or written references to homicide or assaultive behavior • Isolation from friends, family and classmates

  8. Helping Distressed Students • Reach Out • Discuss your observations and express concerns • Plan to spend some time • Find a private setting • Allow the person to talk freely

  9. Helping Distressed Students (cont.) • Listen • Give the student your attention • use open questions • be open to hearing more • steer away from judgement and quick answers • show interest and concern • respect the student’s values and beliefs • offer hope • do not promise to keep the information private

  10. Helping Distressed Students (cont.) • Referring - When & Why • You are not comfortable handling the situation • The help necessary is not your expertise • You know the student personally • The student is reluctant to talk with you • You notice little change • You feel overwhelmed or pressed for time

  11. Helping Distressed Students(cont.) • Referring - How • Be clear about the limits of your time, expertise, objectivity • Reassure that many students seek help • Explain what the student may be able to expect from the referral • Walk the person over to CC, send the person over to CC, or help the student make an appointment

  12. Consultation • In emergency situations, contact campus police • Contact us for help in • assessing the seriousness of situation • suggesting potential resources • finding the best way to refer • clarifying your own feelings about the situation

  13. The Counseling Center • Academic, Career, & Personal Counseling • All services confidential • Start with an “Initial Consultation” • Available for “walk-ins” • Emergency service after hours • Consultation • Outreach • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON HELPING DISTRESSED STUDENTS, PLEASE ALSO SEE: • http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/counseling/referrals.shtml • http://www.sa.psu.edu/caps/distress/