Responding to Emotionally Distressed Students Guide > Guidelines for Interacting, Reporting, and Referring
Signs of Distress in a Student Include:
• Inability to concentrate
• Persistent worrying
• Social isolation
• Increased irritability
• Bizarre behavior
• Frequent or excessive missed classes, appointments, or assignments
• Dangerous or risky behavior
• Increased or noticeable restlessness
• Deterioration in personal hygiene/disheveled appearance
• Mood swings
• Excessive or noticeable indecisiveness
• Noticeable depression
Overall, when dealing with most students in crisis situations, conveying your concern and willingness to help (including referral) is probably the most important thing you can do. Your support, your clarity, and your willingness to act will be particularly valuable to a student in crisis.
We encourage you, whenever possible, to speak directly and honestly to a student when you sense that she/he is in academic and/or personal distress.
If you are unsure of how to handle a specific student, we encourage you to consult with one of the counselors or psychologists on our staff. Call us at (314) 977-2323, inform the receptionist who you are (faculty or staff) and ask to speak with one of our counselors or psychologists. A brief consultation may help you sort out the relevant issues, explore alternative approaches and suggest new ways to cope with the anxiety or stress the student may be experiencing. Overall, when dealing with most students in crisis situations, conveying your concern and willingness to help in any way you can (including referral) is probably the most important thing you can do. Your support, encouragement (including referral), and reassurance will be particularly valuable to a student in crisis.
The Office of Student Conduct has an automated reporting process that allows members of the University community to provide immediate notification to multiple University departments by completing an Incident Report form. The Incident Report form is specific to incidents/concerns involving students and can be completed before, after, and without a referral to Student Health and Counseling. Detailed information regarding the incident/concern you are reporting is vital in determining the proper response. For incidents involving faculty members, please contact the Dean for the corresponding College, for incidents involving Saint Louis University staff members, please contact the Human Resource automated line at (314) 977-2360. For all emergencies contact the DPSEP dispatcher at (314) 977-3000 or 911.
Only current student, faculty or staff members of the SLU community may file a report via this form. If you are not a current SLU community member, please contact the Office of Student Conduct at (314) 977-7326 to speak with a staff member. Reports filed through this online Incident Report are immediately received through this system and viewed the next business day.
If you have any questions regarding filing an Incident Report, please contact the Office of Student Conduct at (314) 977-7326.
When you have determined that a referral to Student Health and Counseling is appropriate, you can be most helpful by clearly and concisely telling the student why you think counseling would be helpful. You might also tell the student a few facts about the services available. For instance, insurance covers counseling for full-time enrolled students, and professional counselors and psychologists provide counseling Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. All discussions are confidential except when the student presents a danger to self, others, or when certain kinds of abuse are involved. Early intervention is preferable to crisis intervention. To ensure prompt attention, it is best to call in advance for an appointment. Having the student make the call increases her/his responsibility and commitment to come for counseling; however, there may be times, especially if the student is in crisis, when it is advantageous for you to call and make the appointment and/or accompany the student to the counseling office. An appointment will be scheduled for the student with one of the counselors as quickly as possible. A specific counselor or psychologist should not be requested because a rotating on-duty crisis counselor is available.
Indicators for Urgent Professional Assessment
• Suicidal talk, thoughts or evidence of attempt
• Fear of losing control and possibly harming someone
• Sexual assault
• Physical assault
• Fear for her/his life or for the life of someone they know
• Panic attacks, frequently
• Binging or purging, frequently
• Thinking that is so disorganized as to be incomprehensible
- DO -
• Call (314) 977-2323
• Inform the receptionist who you are
• Identify the need for an Urgent assessment
• Ask to speak with the on-duty counselor
- DO -
• Call (314) 977-2323 for a consultation with a counselor or to make an appointment
• Encourage the student to call Student Health and Counseling
• Inform the receptionist who you are
• Identify the need for an assessment.
• Complete a MapWorks Referral (for those with access: for traditional freshmen only - academic advisors, U101 Instructors, and Residential Housing Coordinators)