Identifying a Troubled Student

Overall, trust your instincts. If you think a student needs help, CAPS can be a resource for you and the student. In making a referral, you are giving the student an opportunity to help him or herself.

You are not taking responsibility for the student's problems or for finding solutions. You are showing that you care enough to notice that the student seems troubled by something and suggest university resources that are available to the student.

Remember that some students may not be receptive to your efforts, and, depending upon the severity of the situation, you may need to call a CAPS counselor for assistance. Except in certain life-threatening situations, the choice of seeking professional help is up to the individual. If a student remains adamant about not seeking counseling, you need to accept the student's right to say no. If you are very concerned about a student, we encourage you to consult with CAPS.

Call CAPS if you:

  • Notice a student cries easily or seems sad a lot
  • Observe significant changes in a student's behavior (e.g., stops going to class or quits participating in activities)
  • Feel ill-equipped to handle the emotionality of a distressed student
  • Feel awkward or helpless as a student confides in you about personal problems
  • Are concerned that a student could potentially harm him or herself or others