As a faculty and staff member you are often on the front line. A student may feel comforted just by a simple act of indicating that you are concerned. They may feel relief that someone else cares. You may use the following language when talking to a student:
- "I've noticed that you've appeared sad and withdrawn during our last few meetings…"
- "I'm aware that you have fallen asleep in class more often during the past few weeks…"
- "I'm concerned about your tendency to come late to class lately and I want to make sure that you are okay…"
Other Helpful Tips
- It is not helpful to tell students, "look on the bright side" or "you'll get over it"
- Don't feel afraid to ask if they are suicidal (most likely this is not the first time they have had these thoughts). Studies indicate that roughly 10% of college students had thoughts of suicide in the past year and 1.4% admitted to attempting it
- Be direct and nonjudgmental when talking with students
- It is helpful to know about the counseling center & services offered at KCC
- Find out if students have resources at home, etc.
- Find out if they have ever used counseling services in the past
Mental illness is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The college can intervene with disciplinary action of some sort when the behavior is disruptive. When the person is ill and the behavior is not disruptive, there is no basis for removal from a class or any other type of disciplinary action.