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
- 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
- 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- Exaggerated personality traits (e.g., more withdrawn or more animated than usual)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For urgent or emergency student mental health issues:
- If there is an immediate threat of harm to self or others, contact Campus Public Safety at 352-2230 or call 911
- 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.
- 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!