It's important to remember that you are your student's biggest supporter and you know them well. All students get stressed and overwhelmed during the semester, but it’s important to notice if this seems to shift to hopelessness, changes in functioning, or a lack of functioning. While we don't want to interfere with their independence, it’s okay to step in and offer extra help.
Look for these warning signs, especially if there has been a recent loss or change, if the behavior is new, or if it has increased:
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Talking about feeling trapped or hopeless
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawal from others
- Talking about wanting to die or having no reason to live
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or anxiety
What You Can Do
- Let your student know that help is available and that help works. Even large corporations know when it’s time to call in the outside consultant to give them an edge. Seeking help from a mental health professional is a sign of strength.
- Assist your student in getting help. Offer to make that first call, to walk over to the Counseling & Testing Center with them, or to go with them to their first appointment.
- Maintain a supportive and involved relationship with them. It will help make it easier later for them to let you know help is needed and to accept help.
- Don't take it personally. Even though it may seem like they are not trying or not taking school seriously, it’s more likely that they feel like they are disappointing everyone, including themselves.
- Don't assume it’s a passing phase or a normal part of being a student. Work with your student to get help early.
Familiarize yourself with resources available to help your student.
WSU Counseling & Testing Center
Low cost, confidential professional mental health services open to students, faculty and staff. 320 Grace Wilkie Hall, 316-978-3440.
COMCARE Crisis Services
24 hour telephone, in person and mobile crisis center in Wichita, KS. 635 N. Main, Wichita, KS 67203, 316-660-7500.