UAH

How to Help a Student in Distress

helpingGuidelines for identifying students in distress:

  • Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared work, especially if inconsistent with previous work.
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed.
  • Dependency (e.g. the student hangs around or makes excessive appointments during office hours).
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequent falling asleep in class.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene.
  • Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g. deadline extensions).
  • Threats to others.
  • Expressed suicidal thoughts (e.g. referring to suicide as a current option).
  • Excessive weight gain or loss.
  • Behavior which regularly interferes with effective class management.
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive, or aggressive behavior.
  • Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate for the situation (e.g. talking to something or someone that is not present).
  • Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful.

Guidelines for referring students to the Counseling Center (non-emergency situations):

  • Let the student know specifically what it is that concerns you.
  • Make it clear that your referral represents your best judgment about what would help. 
  • Let the student know what to expect if he/she were to come to the Counseling Center.  Feel free to consult with us if helpful.
  • Let the student know that services are confidential. The counselor will inform the student of the limits of confidentiality at the beginning of the session.
  • Let the student know it is his/her right to accept or not accept the referral.

If the student agrees to the referral:

  • Have the student call the Counseling Center (256-824-6203) to make an appointment, or call with the student present.
  • You have the option to walk with the student to the Counseling Center (MDH 136).
  • It is helpful to inform the Counseling Center of your concerns regarding the student either by phone, in person, or in writing.
  • If the student is unable to come in on his/her own, call the Counseling Center for assistance.  If the student refuses the referral and you are worried about his/her safety, call the Counseling Center to consult.
  • Remember that after the student’s appointment, the Counseling Center cannot discuss the student’s case with you without a release of information signed by the student.
  • It can be helpful to follow-up with the student to let him/her know you are interested in how things are going.

What students can expect:

  • Students will schedule an initial appointment, usually within the week.
  • If the student needs services on the same day, a staff member will consult with the student to arrange an appointment.
  • Students will meet with a counselor to discuss the issues of concern.
  • The counselor will make an assessment of the situation and will help the student locate the appropriate services.