As faculty members, because we see our students on a regular basis, we often can tell if they are struggling emotionally. Yet we’re not mental-health professionals. Most of us don’t have the training to know how to offer support and guidance to students who are suffering with mental-health issues. So how should we help?File: How-to-Help-a-Student-in-a-Mental-Health-Crisis.docx
Faculty, teaching assistants, and university staff members often become concerned about students who suddenly stop attending their classes or other university activities, miss an exam, or stop responding to emails. We encourage those concerned to notify the Dean of Students Office in order to make contact with a student who may be in distress. We also recognize that students have the right to choose to not attend class and may be planning to drop the course.
If you are concerned about a student who is missing from your class or activity, contact the Dean of Students Office by phone 608-263-5700, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form linked below. A staff member in the Dean of Students Office will respond to your contact and initiate the missing student process. If you believe the student is in danger, i.e. made a suicidal statement, has a serious medical condition you observed, please give this information to the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will determine whether a “welfare check” by police or University Housing staff is also warranted.
Day-to-day interaction with students is both a vital and essential part of being on a university campus. This interaction provides for teaching moments and creates an environment for learning which takes place both in and out of the classroom, which may include discussions with students about appropriate behaviors on campus. Occasionally, a student’s behaviors will rise above normal interactions causing a level of concern.
A student of concern is any student who is displaying behaviors that may interfere with a student’s ability to be successful at the University or disrupts the learning of others.
Are you concerned about a student? Let us help!
The Dean of Students Office offers
- Resource referral
- Coordination of outreach and information among multiple offices
Students are referred to the Dean of Students Office from a wide range of sources, including faculty, staff, family members, or other students. Generally, these individuals express a concern because they care about the students involved. They realize the best way to get the student assistance is to involve others to determine the best approach for helping the student. The goal is to avert more serious difficulties and provide support as the student works toward academic and personal success.
Examples of Concerning Behavior
- Missing classes or irregular attendance
- Significant change in behavior
- Comments that are inappropriate or irrelevant to class discussion
- Unable to control emotions
- Poor hygiene
- Appears intoxicated or smells of alcohol
- Appears high or smells of marijuana
- Very anxious
- Appears tired or is constantly falling asleep in class
- Concerning writing or art
- Extreme change in weight
- Extreme change in appearance
- Unusual bruising or other injuries
- Interrupting class discussions
- Interfering with other students’ ability to learn
- Making threats or threatening behavior
- Talking or writing about suicide
This list is not comprehensive and may not encompass concerning behavior that you are seeing. No two student situations are the same. Remember that observing any of the behavior listed above should prompt you to reach out to that student. However, there are many resources to help with that conversation. If a student’s behavior reaches a level where you feel unsafe, call the UW Police Department at 608-264-2677 or 911.
Throughout the year, a Dean of Students Office staff member is available on a drop-in basis for walk-in visits, phone calls, and e-mails. Below are a few of the reasons to contact the Dean of Students Office:
- Academic distress due to personal issues
- Assistance for victims
- Conflict mediation referral
- Community support
- Concern about a student
- Crisis Loans
- Emergency/crisis situations
- Family emergency
- Personal safety needs
- Problem solving
- Resource referrals