Staff and Faculty Resources
Assisting Students in Mental Health Distress
Even though college is a new and exciting time for our students, many bring with them complicated lives that impact their student success. Often, you as faculty or staff will be the first to find out that a student is having personal problems that is interfering with their academic success.
What can you do for the student as faculty/staff?
- Listen and observe
- Express your concern and interest to the student
- Talk with the student in a private setting
- Respect the student’s values and beliefs (do not make judgments)
- Refer to counseling
*Don’t feel that you have to counsel the student. You only need to care for them and refer to counseling.
What Can Counseling Do For You and Your Student?
Counselors provide support and assist students with personal issues that impede their academic success. We provide brief solution-oriented counseling, crisis intervention, and referrals to professional agencies in the local area. We can also provide faculty and staff consultation, support, and help "processing" difficult situations with students who have mental health issues.
Making the Connection
What can you do?
- Walk your student to counseling or we can come to you (in a crisis situation)
- Fill out the counseling referral form
- Encourage students to come to counseling and/or to make an appointment
- For consultation, please contact the Counseling Front Desk and we will make an appointment for you
to meet/talk with the next available counselor
- In emergency situations, please call the switchboard operator by dialing “0” to contact
campus security or call 911
Phone: 815-825-2086, ext. 5070
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8:30am-6:00pm; Friday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Who’s Who in Counseling?
- Cassandra Downs
- Carla Johnson
- Carolyn Kernan, MA, LCSW
- Sarah Marsden, MA, LCPC
- Joy Mitchell
Identifying Students in Mental Health Distress
- Deterioration of quantity and quality of work; Missed assignments
- A significant drop in grades
- Anxiety during tests and/or presentations
- Repeated absences from class or lab
- Continually requesting special considerations
- Essays or other creative works that have themes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage or despair
- Marked changes in personal hygiene or dress
- Noticeable weight loss or gain
- Depressed mood, lethargy, excessive fatigue (ex: falling asleep in class)
- Incoherent speech or disorganized thoughts
- Direct statements indicating distress
- Unprovoked anger or hostility
- Exaggerated personality traits; more withdrawn or more animated than usual
- Expressions of hopelessness, fear or worthlessness
- Overt or indirect references to suicide (verbal or written)
- Comments suggesting family problems
- Isolation from family or friends
- Personal loss (death of loved one, break-up, failure at academics/athletics, rejection)
- Expressions of concern about a student by peers
High Risk Indicators
- Any statement (verbal or written) which has a sense of finality or suicide
- Severe depression
- Previous history of suicide attempts or hospitalizations
- Statements to the effect that the student is “going away for a long time” and/or giving away prized
- Self-injurious or self-destructive student behaviors
- Expression (verbal or written) of homicidal thoughts
- Severe loss of emotional control