Students in Crisis

Some situations require immediate attention. If a student's behavior is highly disruptive, creates a risk for others' safety, appears very disorganized or out of control, or if the student expresses an intent of self-harm or suicide, seek immediate assistance by calling CAPS (513-556-0648) and asking for the therapist on-call for emergencies, or call Public Safety at 911.

It is always best to be extra cautious.

Signs of possible emotional or behavioral distress

Changes in a student's behavior may indicate a personal problem. For example, missing classes or work may reflect difficulty sleeping at night, trouble being in public, or fear of disappointing others by a low performance. Behavior that is out of the typical range for university students may also represent a psychological problem. Signs to look for include:

  • Appearance: poor grooming; unwashed hair or clothes; looking tired, sad, or upset; agitated expression or movements
  • Academic functioning: low grades, not doing homework, multiple requests for extensions; missing deadlines
  • Behavior: consistently being late or missing classes or work; talking too much, too loud, or in a way difficult to follow; not communicating, mumbling, or avoiding eye contact; avoiding other people; physical or verbal outbursts
  • Disclosures: talking about death, dying, suicide, or personal or family problems; concern about not being capable of doing schoolwork; considering leaving school; concern about a friend

How to bring up a concern with a student

You may be comfortable approaching a student you know, or a student may initiate a talk with you. In either case, address your concern in a private place and when you have at least 15 minutes to talk without interruptions. Take an attitude that is non-judgmental but caring, saying that you are concerned about him or her. Be straightforward about the appearance, functioning, or behavior that you have noticed. Do not press the student to disclose personal information to you, but let them know that you would like to be helpful and that there are additional resources on campus where assistance is available.

General resources for students

UC has many offices that assist students with academic and personal needs. These include Educational Services, Women's Center, Ethnic Programs and Services, Center for Access and Transition, Career Development Center, Campus Ministry, Financial Aid, University Health Services, Impact Solutions, and others. For students who may have a significant attention disorder, learning disorder, anxiety disorder, depression or other mental health condition, Disability Services Office is a good contact for investigating possible accommodations. It is important to convey to students that, while you care about them and want to help, your expertise in some areas is limited and people at these other offices have the training and skills to be more effective.

Referring to the Counseling & Psychological Services

There is still enough stigma associated with using counseling that some students may be reluctant to contact CAPS . You can address reluctance by "normalizing" the use of such services-conveying that hundreds of students use CAPS every year and counseling is a part of general health care, with a focus on emotional and interpersonal satisfaction. It helps students to hear that seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness, "craziness," or an inability to handle one's own problems, but rather a sign of strength in seeking out resources.

Note to the student that services are confidential. The first contact will be initial consultation. You can give the student our phone number, 513-556-0648 and suggest (but not require) the student use your phone to call from your office to set up an appointment. If you are very concerned about a student, you can offer to walk with him/her to CAPS . You can ask a student to let you know how things went if they do agree to go to CAPS . You can also suggest they visit our website for more detailed information.

Giving students specific information may also increase the likelihood of their initiating contact with us. We are located in 225 Calhoun St Suite 200 (above Target). Our hours are Monday through Friday 8am.- 5pm. We have emergent walk-in or call-in coverage 8:00-5 M-F. After the intake, the therapist will establish a care plan with the student with recommendations for helping them meet their goals. Follow up appointments are normally 45-50 minutes, during which we work with the student on focal problems. We do refer students elsewhere when we do not have specific expertise to assist them or when treatment for a situation goes beyond the scope of our time-limited model. However, we work with students until they feel stable and better able to cope.