Often faculty and staff are the first persons to notice that a student is having emotional difficulties. Here are some common signs that someone has emotional problems:
- Stops coming to class, misses assignments, or shows marked decline in school performance.
- Appears stressed out, sad, tearful, worried, preoccupied, easily angered.
- Withdraws from friends and social activities.
- Refers in conversation, jokes or writings to problems, hopelessness, death, or suicide.
- Gives evidence of alcohol or drug problems – appears intoxicated, fails to make sense.
Here are ways to be helpful when someone shows some of these signs:
- Take the signs seriously – don't assume you must be mistaken.
- Ask to talk to the person. Arrange for a private conversation.
- Point out specifically the signs you noticed and say you are concerned.
- Be willing to listen. Don't judge or give lots of advice or try to cheer up the person or minimize his or her concerns.
- If the person is struggling and is not receiving professional help, recommend calling CWC for an appointment or coming to the office during walk-in hours (see informational box).
- If necessary, gently encourage the person. Explain talking to a counselor is not a sign of weakness or being crazy – it's a mature way to deal with problems.
- Unless the situation is an emergency, respect a student's decision not to get help. Sometimes students initially decline counseling but change their mind later.
- Do not be sworn to secrecy if the student is suicidal. Explain to suicidal students it is your obligation to get help.
- If the situation is an emergency – immediate suicidal urges, other self-destructive behavior – call CWC immediately (700) and/or Security (411).
Questions may come up about how to help a student:
- You are unable to or feeling uncomfortable about arranging a meeting with a student.
- You meet with a student who clearly needs help but refuses to go to CWC.
- A troubled student behaves inappropriately in class.
If you have any such questions, do not hesitate to call CWC or come to walk-in hours. We will be happy to discuss with you how to refer a student to counseling and provide necessary assistance.
221 E. 71st St.
Main Building, Room 806
New York, NY 10021
Phone: (212) 774-0700
Fax: (212) 517-0666
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday to Friday: 3 pm – 4 pm
New York City: 911
CWC (9-5 M-F):
On-call Physician (after hours):