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Responding to Students in Distress: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff
As NEIU is a non-residential university, faculty and staff play an especially important role in being aware of and responsive to students who may be struggling. You have and important relationship with each of your students: this relationship can be a powerful vehicle that you can use to encourage someone to seek help. At the same time, without mental health training, many may feel unprepared to address signs of distress or problematic behavior in their students. The following is intended to provide helpful guidelines for dealing with such situations. In addition, the Behavioral Concerns Team welcomes your questions on any issues regarding behavior.
Students in Distress
All of us experience a "bad day" now and then, and usually it is only a short time to recovering a more positive attitude and the ability to cope with whatever situation has presented itself. Sometimes, however, the bad day persists and we begin to see signs of ongoing distress and poor coping. These signs may include:
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What to Do
When you observe behavior that points to ongoing distress, addressing it with the student can go a long way toward supporting and encouraging the person to get the help they need. Don't assume that someone else in the student's life will intervene. If you like, you may contact the Counseling Office or the BCT about your concerns before you meet with your student.
Communicate your concerns:
When one of your students shares difficulties that are beyond your ability to help, or when a student's behavior suggests serious emotional problems, it may be best to refer the student to the Counseling Office.Refer to the BCT
You may feel that talking with and encouraging a distressed student provides the boost that student needs. Or you may find that a student is grateful to know about services in the Counseling Office, follows through on your referral and you observe a positive change in him or her.