- 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.
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 as outlined in When to Intervene.