Tips for Dealing with Distressed Students
- If there is no immediate threat, speak with the student privately. Please do not promise confidentiality because you may find that you need to refer or consult with others regarding the student. Document your conversations.
- Become familiar with TTU and community resources and the kinds of services they provide.
- Offer a quiet place for the individual to talk.
- Inform the student of your concern in a direct, matter-of-fact manner. Be specific regarding the behaviors you have observed.
- Listen carefully to the student's concerns and be sensitive to those that might underlie the present problem (issues that are unstated, brushed aside, or intimated).
- Explore the student's previous attempts at resolution, such as what resources have been utilized and what persons or agencies have been contacted. Ask about the outcome of such action.
- Suggest that the student consider personal counseling. Be honest and direct about your limitations.
- Contact the TTU Counseling Center (931-372-3331) for consultation and assistance in responding to the student.
- Propose the referral in a direct and positive manner. Encourage the student to come to the Counseling Center during our walk-in hours or to call for an appointment. Our walk-in hours are held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- Except in emergencies, the student should be allowed the option of declining a referral for counseling.
When to Refer
Consider referring if you notice any signs of distress and/or
- If you find yourself doing more personal counseling than academic advising with a student.
- If you feel that you are unable to deal effectively with the student's issues.
- If you and/or the student are uncomfortable in dealing with the problem.
- If you are concerned about suicidal risk or threat of harm (See Emergencies for referral guidelines in such cases).