Educators’ and supervisors’ contacts with students are an important component in the latter’s academic as well as personal success. When students come to campus they are leaving many of their support systems behind. Previous advisors and mentors such as parents, friends, pastors, and teachers are not as available or as knowledgeable about the college environment.
Although many students quickly establish new and equally effective support systems, a number of students may not know where to turn for help and information and may look to you for answers. You are also in a position to observe the indicators that a student is not doing well.
Many considerations need to be factored into your response to a student, including your beliefs about the appropriate role of a faculty or staff member in helping students, your personal style, the quality and nature of your relationship with the student, and your own background and knowledge base. Other factors such as situational factors (class size, format), the student's openness to assistance, and a student's comfort in seeking out contact, may have a substantial effect on the type of interactions you can have with a student.
The likelihood is, however, that at some point, you will come into contact with a student in distress and in need of psychological assistance. We are confident that faculty and staff can identify these students and offer valuable assistance. This resource can assist you in identifying struggling students and appropriately guiding them to those best able to help.
Philip Lawlis, Ph.D.
Director of Engle Center for Counseling and Health Services
For our downloadable PowerPoint presentation, click below:
Identifying and Responding to Distressed Students: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators