We know you care about your students like we do, so we hope to work with you closely to support them.

Recognising Signs of Distress from a Student

The following are common early signs of distress in students:

  • Behavioural or emotional changes
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Social withdrawal
  • Change in hygiene or appearance
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Excessive or inappropriate anger
  • Bizarre thoughts or behaviours
  • Multiple absences or frequently punctuality issue

Often, our first impression to the student’s behaviours are also signals that the student may need more specialised assistance. You may feel:

  • Alarmed or frightened
  • Uncomfortable about student’s comments or behaviours
  • Concerned about student’s ability to function

Talking to a Student

You would be an important support for students to seek assistance from on-campus and community resources.

DO:
  • Speak with the student privately
  • Remain calm
  • Describe the signs that concern you
  • Show concern without judgement
  • Discuss alternatives to make up class performances if available and needed
  • Check to see if academic advising is needed
  • Advise student to contact (call, email, or go directly to the office) us for service screening
  • Encourage the student to call for an appointment from your office if needed
  • Consult us
  • Check in with the student again later on
DO NOT:
  • Rush through the conversation
  • Tolerate rudeness
  • Assume the role of therapist/counsellor (unless trained)
  • Dominate the conversation
  • Remain in a situation that feels unsafe
  • Critique the student
  • Ignore a feeling that something is not right
  • Assume someone else has intervened with the student