Faculty and Staff Resources
Stress is experienced on a spectrum. Many students will experience some levels of stress during their time as an undergraduate or graduate student. Stress is a normal reaction to environmental/ life events, often short-lived. Distress, however, happens when stress becomes prolonged, severe, or both, and exceeds the resources a person has to manage stress. If distressing circumstances are significantly affecting student well-being or ability to be successful academically, they may turn to you for assistance. Your role in identifying and referring students who are in distress can be extremely helpful to students in need of additional support.
For faculty and staff who are interested in finding ways to recognize psychological distress, promote resilience, and support and empower students - especially during the pandemic - please watch our outreach program on Supporting and Empowering Students During COVID-19: Recognizing Psychological Distress and Promoting Resilience.
Making a Referral to the Counseling Center
There are several ways of making a referral to the Counseling Center. You may suggest that the student call or walk-in to the Counseling Center to make an appointment. Give the student the appropriate phone number and location at that time. It can sometimes be helpful to assist the student in making the first contact with the Counseling Center by calling the Center with the student present, or by escorting the student to the Center yourself. A telephone contact in advance, however, will help to reassure the student and prepare the staff for his or her arrival. If you are unsure about which referral is most appropriate for the student, please contact the Counseling Center directly to discuss the situation.
To make an appointment, students may contact 215.895.1415 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Counseling Center in 201 Creese Student Center.
In the event of an emergency or crisis after regular office hours you can contact the on-call counselor at 215.416.3337 or call Drexel Public Safety at 215.895.2822.
Some Signs of Distress
- Loss of interest in coursework: failure to turn in assignments, a drop in academic effort, deterioration in quality of work
- Multiple absences
- Poor time management
- Someone usually alert and engaged might now be falling asleep in class
- Repeated requests for special consideration, e.g., deadline extensions.
- Expressions of intense emotions (rage, anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, loneliness, prolonged sadness)
- Self-disclosure of distress, worrying about the future
- Changes in appearance such as lack of basic personal hygiene (within reason, since many are doing slightly less grooming while at home)
- Disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
- Self-disclosure of using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress
- Expressing thoughts about death, suicide or hurting others
- Trust your intuition!
- Bizarre or strange behavior.
- Normal emotions that are displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period of time, e.g., fearfulness, tearfulness, or nervousness.
Tips on How to Intervene
- Talk to a student in private in a direct manner.
- Express concern. Be as specific as possible in stating your observations and the reasons for concern. Some examples are: “Hey, you seem a little off these days. I am noticing x,y,z. Is everything okay?” or “I became concerned when I read your email saying, “What’s the point? I would not here much longer.” “I can support you with this, but I think a clinician at the Counseling Center will be most helpful to you in addressing this problem.”
- Don't rush. Except in emergencies, the student should feel free to accept, consider, or refuse the referral.
- If the student resists help and you remain uncomfortable with the situation, contact the Counseling Center to discuss your concerns.
Making a Referral to the Counseling Center
Once you determine that a student could benefit from counseling, let them know the Counseling Center is confidential. If they are open to the referral, students can schedule by phone (215.895.1415), by email (email@example.com) or in person (201 Creese Student Center) during our regular business hours. Our front desk administrative staff will screen callers for emergency needs. The Center offers a range of services, including triages, individual and group therapy, workshops, crisis services, and consultations). In the event of an emergency or crisis after regular office hours you can contact the on-call counselor at 215.416.3337 or call Drexel Public Safety at 215.895.2822.
We encourage you to follow up with the student later to show your continued interest even if they did not accept your attempted referral. If a student refuses your referral and you remain concerned, feel free to call us to consult.
- If you are concerned for anyone’s imminent safety, call 911 or Drexel Police (215-895-2222)
- If you are concerned about someone, it is okay to ask someone if they are thinking about hurting or killing themselves
- Communicate your concern and desire to keep them safe
- Send a clear message: “You are not alone,” “I am concerned about you,” “I want to help you get the support you need,” “ I can support you with this, but I think a clinician at the Counseling Center will be most helpful to you in addressing this problem.”
- Email the Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org to consult with a clinician if you are uncertain. If you need immediate assistance for an emergency, call on-call phone at 215-416-3337 and speak with a Counseling Center clinician.