Faculty and staff members may be the first college personnel to notice if a student is struggling with personal problems or mental health issues. The role of a faculty member is simply to:
Observable red flags that suggest a student may be struggling and in need of help can include:
Apart from these signs, you may be aware that a student is troubled about a personal issue, is wrestling with an important decision, or has had a recent difficult experience, such as sexual assault, the end of a significant dating relationship, the death of a family member or friend, serious family problems, or a personal or family health crisis.
See Crisis Resources for more information.
If a student is exhibiting one or more of the following signs, get emergency help:
Emergency help weekdays during business hours
Emergency help during night/weekend hours
Please visit the Helping Others page to find suggestions for how to approach a student who is exhibiting one or more of the red flags for mental health issues. You will also find recommendations for how to make a referral to counseling. Visit the Services page to learn more about the resources for students at the Counseling Service, our confidentiality policy, and how a student may schedule a counseling appointment.
When a student is exhibiting one or more of the red flags suggesting mental health issues, it is usually advisable for a faculty member to share this information with at least one college office charged with responding to such situations. Even if the student reports that he or she is already involved in counseling or the student agrees to a counseling referral, it is still advisable for the faculty member to share what he or she knows about the student’s behavior and situation with one of the following college offices:
Faculty members sometimes have concerns about whether FERPA prevents them from sharing information about students with others on campus. This is not the case. FERPA allows faculty to share information about a student with other college faculty or staff members who have a legitimate educational use for the information. Appropriate uses can include academics, discipline, health, safety, and student welfare. In general, an appropriate purpose is one that helps the recipient of the information fulfill their professional responsibilities. You will not be violating FERPA if you follow the procedures outlined here for alerting other campus offices when a student appears to be struggling with personal problems or mental health issues.