The undergraduate and graduate school experience at NIU can have many positive and rewarding benefits for students. However, there are times when academic, financial and/or emotional concerns can also impact students in more significant ways. Numerous factors and situations can contribute to a student's personal worries, and this can include mental health concerns. Due to your position, status and/or visibility on campus, students who are experiencing emotional distress may turn to you for help. Or, because of your role, you may find yourself working with a student who is demonstrating behavior that causes you to be concerned about their emotional well-being, personal safety and/or the safety of others.
The guidelines below will help you to recognize, intervene and refer at-risk students to Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) so that they can get the help they need.
Recognizing Students with Emotional and/or Behavioral Concerns
At one time or another, everyone feels stressed, depressed or anxious. However, some behaviors can suggest that a student is dealing with more substantial concerns that are having a significant impact on their lives. Provided below are behaviors and other examples that can indicate three different levels of concerns (adapted from information originally provided by the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas, Austin).
Although not disruptive to others, these behaviors may indicate that help is needed:
Serious grade problems or a change from consistently good grades to poor performance.
Excessive absences, especially if the student previously demonstrated consistent class and/or work attendance.
Unusual or markedly changed pattern of interaction (e.g., avoiding participation, becoming excessively anxious when called upon, dominating discussion or making questionable comments, etc.)
Withdrawing or isolating from others and/or lethargic behavior.
Excessive physical activity/motor movements and very rapid speech.