Promoting student welfare and campus safety
Barbara Meehan, Ph.D.
Director, ASU Counseling Services
At ASU we are committed to the success and well-being of our students. We recognize that during this time of the semester, students may be particularly vulnerable to stress and anxiety related to academic pressures. While most students face life stressors with no significant problems, a small but significant portion of students may experience more serious mental or behavioral health issues as a result of stress.For these students, stress may be more likely to interfere with personal and academic goals. For some, stress may even result in thoughts of self-harm or suicide. As someone who interacts with students on a regular basis, you are in a pivotal position to identify inconsistent behavior that may be of concern. Your expression of concern and empathy can be helpful to a student in distress.
We recognize, especially for those who are not mental health professionals, that it can be difficult to know when to be concerned about a student. Students experiencing stress or a sense of being overwhelmed may exhibit their problems in a variety of ways. While there is no “template” for identifying a concerning student, the following are some warning signs that may indicate a distress or significant emotional concern:
- Marked nervousness, agitation, or irritability
- Inappropriately aggressive or abrasive behavior
- Excessive procrastination and/or poorly prepared work
- Pattern of infrequent class attendance, little or no work completed
- Apparent depression or lack of energy
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Withdrawal, indecisiveness and/or confusion
- Comments (written or verbal) that suggest thoughts about harming oneself, or any threats to another person.
- Bizarre, alarming statements or evidence that a student is engaging in dangerous behavior
If you find that you are concerned about a student, it is important to know that there are steps you can take and resources available to support you. We encourage you, if possible, to speak directly to the student and express your concern. We also want to you to be aware of, and seek consultation from University resources, such as those listed below. We are here to help!
- ASU Counseling Services staff is available to provide consultation anytime between 8am-5pm, Monday thru Friday. More information about ASU Counseling Services can be found at students.asu.edu/counseling
- The Student Assistance Coordination Committee (SACC) combines the expertise of key campus units to coordinate responses to students in distress and to manage potential critical incidents involving ASU students.The efforts of the SACC team members allow for early response and intervention, collaboration among units to address all contributing factors and concerns, as well as coordinated support to the university community. For more information about the SACC, please visit: students.asu.edu/files/SACC%20flyer%20rev.pdf
- For more information about campus safety resources for faculty and staff, please visit: www.asu.edu/studentaffairs/safety
For emergency situations call the ASU Police Department (911) or EMPACT (dedicated ASU crisis line) at 480-921-1006.
We hope you find this information helpful.If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for all of the work you do to support the success and well-being of our students!