Students encounter stress for a variety of reasons. Academics, family problems, social situations, work, and financial concerns are just some of the sources of stress. While most students cope successfully with the demands of college life, for some the pressures become overwhelming and unmanageable.
The inability to cope effectively with emotional stress poses a serious threat to a student's overall functioning. The expression of interest and concern by a faculty or staff member may be a critical factor in helping a struggling student reestablish the emotional equilibrium necessary for success in a university environment.
Your willingness to respond to students in distress will undoubtedly be influenced by your personal style and your particular beliefs about the limits of responsibility for helping students mature, both emotionally and intellectually. Some students may be more open to assistance than others. In addition, factors such as class size or the nature of your relationship with the student may also have a substantial effect on the type of interactions you have. It's important to be realistic about what you can offer when making a decision about how you can help a student.
A crisis is a situation in which an individual's usual style of coping is no longer effective, and the emotional or physiological
response begins to escalate. As emotions intensify, coping becomes less effective, until the person may become
disoriented, non-functional, or attempt harm. If a student is in a serious mental health crisis, you might see or hear the
Stress is a part of every student's life.
However, there are some indicators that, when present over time, suggest that a student's stress level may be a cause for concern. In these circumstances, you might see or hear the following:
What To Do When You Suspect a Serious Crisis If you are concerned about a student but unsure how to approach the situation, call the Behavior Concerns Advice Line at 512-232-5050 for a confidential consultation. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.
If you believe there may be imminent danger of harm to a student or someone else, as evidenced by several of the crisis symptoms listed under the Student in Crisis Section, immediately call the UT Police (471-4441) or the Austin Police Department (911) for assistance. You may also consider walking the student to the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC). Doing so is an excellent way of showing your concern and support, and helps ensure that the student receives the help they need. CMHC is open Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm.
If you are concerned about a student but unsure how to approach the situation, call the Behavior Concerns Advice Line at 512-232-5050 for a confidential consultation. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.
If you choose to approach a student you are concerned about or if a student seeks you out, here are some suggestions that
might be helpful:
Dealing with students in distress can be a stressful and taxing experience. Be sure to take care of yourself, too. Seek support from colleagues and supervisors. It may also be helpful to talk with a counselor. Counseling services are available free of charge for faculty and staff members currently covered by UT's health insurance benefits through the Employee Assistance Program
If you have concerns about a student, faculty, or staff member in the UT community, contact the 24-hour Behavior Concerns Advice Line at 512-232-5050.