Guidelines for Talking with a Distressed Student

  • Listen, accept & respect what is said.
  • Attempt to address the person's needs & seek appropriate resources.
  • Try to focus on an aspect of the problem that is manageable & help identify resources needed to improve things.
  • Avoid giving advice, judging, evaluating, and criticizing or easy answers such as, "Everything will be all right."
  • Trust your insight and reactions & let others know your concerns.
  • Avoid contributing unnecessarily to the person's guilt or sense of failure.
  • Do not swear secrecy or offer confidentiality to the person.
  • Encourage the person to seek help.
  • Respect the student's value system, even if you don't agree.
  • When called for, let the person know you are worried about their safety.
  • After the interaction with the student, make some notes documenting what was took place.
  • Consult with others on about your concerns and/or interaction with the distressed student.
Important to Note

If a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, it is important to call the Campus Police at (815)836-5911 immediately.