These signs may indicate a student is an immediate danger to him or herself:
|Listen for feelings||Make the assumption about the student|
|Keep your language simple||Agree or disagree|
|Make good eye contact||Nod at the“wrong” time|
|To start a conversation||– What brings you here today?
– I notice … so I am a bit worried about you…
|How to deal with silence||I am wondering what you were thinking about just now?|
|Minimal Encouragers||mm hmm, uh huh, ah, etc.
(Avoid using phrases like “yes” and “right”.)
|Open-ended questions||– Can you tell me more about that?
– What is it that bothers your most about this situation?
– How are you feeling right now?
|Clarifiers||– Could you give me an example of that?
– Do you mean …?
– I am not sure I understand your meaning. Can you please tell me a little more about that?
|Reflecting Feelings||It sounds like you feel…
It seems like you are saying/ feeling …
I feel … when you … because…
If you experience the above signs, you may be over-involved and need some help. Please feel free to consult with CAPS and ask for help.
Please ask for the student’s permission and consult with CAPS first before you contact their parents. Even though sometimes student’s parents need to be informed, contacting them without the student’s permission may make the situation worse since sometimes student’s distress comes from family.
Your offer of help may be rejected. People in varying levels of distress sometimes deny their problems because it is difficult to admit they need help or they think things will get better on their own. Take time to listen to the student’s fears and concerns about seeking help. Let the student know that it is because of your concern that you are referring him or her to an important resource and he/she can talk about his/her concerns with CAPS staff before start using counseling service.
Students may feel like their professor/staff is an authority figure and therefore do not tend to reach out to them, especially about personal concerns. There may be an even larger power differences under Chinese cultural background. However, if you are a faulty/staff, it can be helpful to approach students first when you have some concerns. In the first class, you can also let students know that you are open for them to share personal concerns, and that you can offer help when needed. Most student will not reject the kindness and it is also helpful to build connections.
Yes and No. If there are signs of safety risk, ask if the student is considering suicide. A person contemplating suicide will likely be relieved that you asked. If he or she is not, asking the question will not plant the idea in his or her head.
For more information on how to help people with psychological distress, please explore