For Faculty or Staff
The staff at the Counseling Center is available to work with faculty and staff of Georgia Southern in a variety of ways. We can make outreach presentations to your class or department on topics such as Counseling Center services, stress management, test anxiety, assertiveness, sexual assault prevention, communication skills, adjusting to college, depression, and more.
Recognizing a Student in Distress
While at Georgia Southern, students will be faced with a great many personal, academic, and social stressors. Most will successfully navigate these challenges while others may experience them as overwhelming and unmanageable. As a result, students may feel fearful, isolated, helpless, and alone. This distress can negatively impact a student’s academic performance, and lead to disruptive behaviors such as acting out, alcohol/drug abuse, and suicide attempts.
As a faculty or staff member, you are in a unique position. You may be one of the first to recognize when a student is in distress or crisis. Expressing your interest or concern in a student’s well being can be critical towards helping him or her get the assistance that is needed. This could save a student’s academic career, not mention his or her life.
Signs of Possible Distress
At one time or another, we all experience some degree of distress. However, when some of the following are present, your student may be experiencing significant distress that could interfere with his or her personal and academic functioning:
- Uncharacteristic decline in academic performance
- Increased absences or tardiness from class
- Failure to complete assignments
- Written comments in a student’s paper that draw concern
- Uncharacteristic change in class participation (e.g., disruptive behavior, withdrawal, dominating discussions, exaggerated responses)
- Significant dependency on faculty or staff (e.g., excessive visitation during office hours)
- Requests for special allowances, particularly if the student is hesitant to discuss the reasons
- Persistent appearance of depression (e.g., sad mood, loss of interest, tearfulness, weight loss, withdrawal)
- Anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks, agitation, irritability, non-stop talking
- Aggressiveness, acting out, emotional outbursts
- Significant change in personal hygiene, dress, appearance
- Bizarre behavior, speech, or mannerisms
- Talk of death or suicide, either directly or indirectly (e.g., “It doesn’t matter, I won’t be around for the final exam.” or “I’m not worried about finding a job, I won’t need one.”)
- Homicidal threats, either verbal or in written statements
It is important to remember that just because a student appears to be experiencing one of these signs it does not necessarily mean that he or she is in significant distress. Many of the above situations are short lasting. However, if a student’s distress appears to be severe, or you notice one or more of these signs over a prolonged period of time, then it may be necessary to intervene. If you have doubts or concerns about the seriousness of your student’s problems, please consult with one of the staff members at the Counseling Center.
As a Georgia Southern faculty or staff member, students may come to you for advice or assistance with personal concerns. There will be times when you believe it is appropriate to recommend that the student seek services at the Counseling Center. There may be other times when you would like to recommend a book, a web site, or another office on campus.
If you would like to recommend a web site or a book to your student, please go to the “Self-Help Topics” section of this web site, click on the topic that is of concern to your student, and review the resources we have made available.
If you would like to recommend a campus resource to your student, please go to the “General Resources” section of this web site and click on the appropriate link.
SAFE SPACE Training
Our center also offers SAFE SPACE training. This workshop will help develop greater awareness and knowledge of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals in the services of increasing inclusion, acceptance and support for all individuals. Click here for more information.
Consultation is Available
We are also available to consult with faculty and staff, campus groups and organizations, and administrative offices who may be concerned about issues affecting the personal and academic well-being of students. We can assist with student crises, help to assess a difficult situation, facilitate interventions, identify resources, and make referrals where appropriate.
Last updated: 7/17/2019