Emotional Distress

Responding to Emotionally Distressed Students

As a member of the University community, you have ongoing and direct contact with students. This places you in a position to identify students who are struggling with personal and/or academic concerns. How involved you want to be in the student's problems will likely depend on how you see your role in the University, your training, your experience, and your personality. These guidelines, your knowledge of the services available, and your awareness of your personal attributes can help you become more comfortable with determining when and how you wish to intervene with students.

All students will experience some level of stress. Some will face life events that are more challenging such as

  • significant changes in a relationship
  • the death of someone close
  • family crises
  • physical illness

Others will face severe difficulty with

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • anger
  • addictions
  • even psychotic episodes

How students respond to these challenges and how these challenges impact their academic functioning will vary greatly based on their coping abilities and personal situations.