- unusual decline in academic performance
- inability to meet academic demands
- requests numerous extensions or make-up assignments
- test anxiety
- severe procrastination
- drop in class attendance
- unrealistic standards for performance
- unusual dependence
- reluctance to communicate
- activity level is lower or higher than usual
- inability to concentrate, indecisiveness, confusion
- stated feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- anxiety or panic attacks
- lack of energy or chronic fatigue
- inappropriate discussion of personal issues in the classroom
- inappropriate or unusual conversation
- significant decline of personal hygiene, standard of dress or grooming
- suspected drug or alcohol abuse
- extreme feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness
- centering academic assignments around suicide or death
- stated thoughts of or plans for suicide
- financial difficulties
- unmanageable work schedule
- death or serious illness of a loved one
- personal illness
- challenges in relationships
- extreme shyness
- adjustment to university life
- trauma due to a recent crisis
- Choose a time when you have privacy and can listen.
- Show your concern. A good opening line is, "I am concerned about you. I have noticed ______ (describe specific factors). I am wondering if you need support right now."
- Be factual, respectful and direct.
- Do not promise confidentiality if a student discloses suicidal thoughts or a plan to harm someone else. See When to Intervene for more details.
- Listen to the student's point of view, empathize with the student's concerns in a non-judgmental manner and instill hope by letting the student know that help is available if needed.
- Avoid a "quick fix" approach to a complex problem. Showing understanding and respect is more important than telling the student what to do.
- Be aware of your personal and professional limits while helping.
- Be aware of the student services on campus, such as the medical clinic at MacEwan Health Services or counselling services at the Student Life Office.
- If you have questions about crisis counselling availability, please call 780-497-5063.
Intervention is effective when students are motivated to make changes in their lives. While addressing personal difficulties is challenging, a student must have some desire to participate in order for the process to be successful. If a student appears unsure about counselling or another type of support, you can suggest that they try attending one appointment as an "experiment" .
If the student still refuses help, it is important that this choice be respected. University students are adults and have the right to refuse service, except in certain crisis situations.