Assisting Students in Distress

Assisting a student in distress can be an effective step in getting a student connected to resources they need. If you find that you are uncomfortable doing so alone, call the PASOS Student Success Supervisor, Academic Affairs Office, or Student Health and Counseling to discuss your concerns. 

  • Listen to thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, non-threatening way. 
  • Talk to the student in private when both of you have time and are not rushed or preoccupied. Give the student your undivided attention.
  • Make a plan. Before approaching the student of concern, first think through what you will say, what resources are available, and how you can ensure your own safety. Contact the Dean of Students or Student Health and Counseling if you have concerns. 
  • Be direct and non-judgmental. Express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms. Be specific about what actions or behaviors you are concerned with.  
  • Communicate understanding by repeating back the essence of what the student has told you, checking for understanding. Try to include both the content and feelings that were expressed.
  • Refer. Point out that help is available and seeking help is a sign of strength. Tell the student what you know about the recommended person or service. 
  • Document and follow-up. Talk to the student the soon again to find out if they took action. Refer to CARE if needed.