Engaging Students of Concern
If a student approaches you to talk about a personal problem or you want to try to help a distressed student, here are some tips:
- Request to talk with the student in private.
- Use a genuine, caring tone and words to help students speak about issues that may be confusing or embarrassing.
- Do not assure confidentiality (although you can assure the student that you will share information only with those who need to know).
- Take time to explore the ways in which the student may get the support necessary for change. Be aware that support comes from a variety of areas for students, and each student differs in terms of what she or he needs when facing distress. Students may identify a need for increased support from family and friends or from a therapist or clergy member.
- Never exceed your training. Refer the student to additional resources if necessary.
- Consult with the Dean of Students’ Office, your supervisor, or your department chair about your concerns.
For more tips on how to engage a student of concern, please check out the Dean of Students’ Office web page under Faculty and Staff Resources.