(Please refer to the Faculty Guide for Students in Distress if you have not done so already)
College students often experience high levels of stress. Most students successfully cope with university life; however, some become overwhelmed. When psychological difficulties go untreated, the results can be serious and include academic failure and even withdrawal from the University.
Most psychological problems - even the more serious disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress - have high rates of recovery if appropriate help is received in time. Unfortunately, many students do not get the help they need for any number of reasons, including lack of knowledge about the early signs of psychological difficulties, denial, and lack of information about campus resources that can provide help. While the counseling services provided through the Student Wellness Center can be a tremendous help to students, Central faculty and staff play a key role in helping to promote student mental health on campus, supporting prevention initiatives, and early identification of students who may be struggling emotionally.
The role of faculty, staff and others who provide services to students regarding student mental health:
Central faculty and staff and others who provide services to students play a critical role in supporting students who struggle with mental health needs. They are the eyes and ears of the University community and have the opportunity to help the counseling center intervene early when a student is struggling. The counseling center utilizes a public health approach to addressing the mental health needs of Central students. This approach focuses on promotion, prevention and early intervention.
Faculty and staff are critical in promoting mental health on campus:
- Let students know about the counseling center’s services and how we can help.
- Encourage students to engage in self-care activities particularly during high stress times.
- Avoid the use of stigmatizing language (i.e., crazy, nuts, whacked out, insane, etc.).
Faculty and staff are critical in supporting the Student Wellness Center’s prevention initiatives on campus:
- Remind students about wellness activities on campus (i.e., health fairs, flu shot clinics, mental health, substance abuse and health-related educational seminars and events, etc.).
- Encourage students to attend.
- Give extra credit for proof of participation.
Faculty and staff are critical in helping us intervene with students early through early identification:
- Be aware of changes in the student and look for changes in:
- quality of work
- production of work
- Take the first step rather than waiting for the student to come to you:
- talk to the student
- be supportive
- be compassionate- there’s hurt behind the struggle
- avoid psych jargon
- express that you are concerned about them and want to support them in being successful at Central, rather than adding to their stress by talking about everything they are not doing
- check-in with colleagues to see if they are noticing similar changes
- become familiar with the counseling services we offer on campus
- seek clinical consultation by calling the counseling center if you have a concern about a student and are not sure what to do
- do a warm handoff by walking the student over to the counseling center to set up an appointment
- walk the student over if they are experiencing acute distress due to suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation and/or disclosure of sexual abuse
- remain calm and confident that together we can partner help students who struggle with mental health issues
Do not hesitate to dial 911 or the CCSU Police Department (x22375) in the case of emergency!