The following behaviors can all be important signs of distress. As a staff, faculty or a peer, you may notice a student exhibiting one or more of the academic, physical, or emotional signs and decide that something is clearly wrong.
Please consider either:
- Speaking directly with the student, or
- Making a Student of Concern referral
- Choosing a pathway
If you have a relationship or rapport with a student and notice signs of distress, your best option may be to talk with him or her directly. Begin the conversation by expressing your concern. See “Quick Tips on How To Help a Distressed Student”
If you do not know the student well (e.g. student is in your large lecture class, someone you don’t socialize with regularly), but notice signs of distress or a pattern of concerning behavior, it may be more comfortable or effective to contact someone in their support circle(friend, family) who may be “closer” to the student.”
Your decision may also be influenced by:
- Your level of experience
- The nature or severity of the problem
- Your ability to give time to the situation
- A variety of other personal factors
In any given situation, there are likely to be several “right ways” to reach out in a caring manner.
The only real risk is in doing nothing