Information for Faculty & Staff

The college years can be stressful for students. Students may experience crises if their levels of stress exceed their coping resources. As a faculty /staff member, you can assist students by referring them to appropriate sources of help. The following information will provide you with some guidance in this process.

What to look for:

Academic indicators:

  • Deterioration in quality of work
  • A drop in grades
  • A negative change in classroom performance
  • Continual seeking of special accommodations (late papers, extensions, postponed exams, etc.)
  • Missed appointments
  • Repeated absences from class
  • Disorganized or erratic performance
  • Essays or creative work that indicate extremes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage or despair

Personal/Interpersonal Indicators:

  • Tearfulness
  • Excessive dependency
  • Expressions of concern about a student in the class by his/her peers
  • Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or other difficulties
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • A hunch or gut-level reaction that something is wrong
  • Exaggerated personality traits (e.g., more withdrawn or more animated than usual)

Physical Indicators:

  • Deterioration in physical appearance
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Coming to class bleary-eyed, hung over, or smelling of alcohol
  • Visible changes in weight
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Appearing sick or ill

Safety Risk Indicators:

  • Any written note or verbal statement that has a sense of finality, excessive aggression, or suicidal tone
  • Severe depression
  • Giving away of prized possessions
  • Repeated mention of guns or other means of violence
  • Statements to the effect that the student is “going away for awhile”
  • Essays or papers that focus on despair, harm to others, suicide, or death
  • Self-injurious, self-destructive, or violent behaviors
  • A history of suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Any other behavior that seems out of control

What You Can Do:

  1. Call and consult a staff member at the Student Counseling Center at 541-352-2191, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Indicate that you are faculty/staff calling to discuss a student concern. Your call will be returned as soon as possible if a counselor is not immediately available.
  2. Discuss your concerns directly with the student and listen for her/his responses. Talking about a concern does not make it worse. It may be the first step in addressing the student’s issues.
  3. Encourage the student to make a counseling appointment at the Student Counseling Center.  While at peak times during the semester, there may be a 1-2 week wait for available appointments, the counseling staff will respond to emergencies on a same day basis as quickly as possible.
  4. For urgent or emergency student mental health issues:
    1. If there is an immediate threat of harm to self or others, contact Campus Public Safety at 352-2230 or call 911
    2. If there is no immediate threat of harm to self or others, contact the Student Counseling Center, 352-2191, for assistance and further directions. The first available counselor will speak with you.
    3. After hours, call the Washington County Crisis Line, a 24-hour crisis line at 503-291-9111. This 24-hour crisis line provides after hours coverage for the Pacific community and provides valuable assistance to the student, or the faculty/staff member assisting the student.

Issues to Consider:

  • Avoid making promises of confidentiality. It may put the student or others at risk if you do, particularly if a student represents a safety risk to himself or herself.
  • You do not have to take on the role of a counselor. You need only notice, care, and refer. Avoid acting outside the scope of your relationship with the student.
  • Even if you feel comfortable discussing a problem with a student, it may be beneficial to consult with a staff member at the Student Counseling Center.
  • There are professional services on and off campus. None of us has to go it alone!