Student Life and Development

Behavioral Intervention Team

Responding to Students Who Are Struggling

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St. Cloud State University is committed to providing an educational environment in which we demonstrate care and concern for one another. The following information is designed to assist you in responding to students in distress and provide you important campus resources to assist you.

IDENTIFYING STRUGGLING STUDENTS

There are many reasons why students may be struggling or in distress. They may be experiencing relationship difficulties, financial problems, personal and family challenges, stress, depression, or other illness. Students may provide a number of clues to show they are having difficulty. These may include:

  • Emotional or behavioral withdrawal
  • Change in behavior, hygiene, or appearance
  • Changes in appetite or quality of sleep
  • Hostile or agitated behavior
  • Disruptive behavior inside or outside the classroom
  • Poor control of emotions or behavior
  • Suicidal talk and/or behavior
  • Threatening language or behavior toward self or others
  • Excess bravado toward authority
  • Attempts to control or isolate others
  • Excessive absences or not turning in work assignments

RESPONDING TO STUDENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING

We shouldn't assume that students will stop concerning behavior on their own because they may not be aware that their behavior is troubling or have resources to change on their own. It is important to respond to small incidents or behaviors of concern early. Talking to students can help them identify, as well as cope sooner and more effectively with their struggles. In many cases, your initial expression of concern may be all that is needed to help.

Talking with the student is the first step

  • Speak to the student privately
  • Do not offer confidentiality
  • Point out specific behaviors that concern you
  • Listen carefully
  • Express your concern: be clear and honest
  • Note how others are affected (if applicable)
  • Discuss options, suggest strategies
  • Set up a time to check back in

CONSULTATION AND REFERRAL OPTIONS

Office of Student Life and Development (SLD) 320-308-3111
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) 320-308-3171

You might also:

  • Consider talking to your Department Chair or Associate Dean
  • Involve a colleague who can reinforce your concerns
  • Suggest seeing a counselor; offer to help make the call or accompany the student depending on your level of concern

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)
320-308-3111
This interdisciplinary team provides case review, consultation, follow-up, and assistance to faculty, staff, and students. To refer a student you are concerned about call Student Life and Development. You may also call CAPS at 308-3171 for a consultation if you are unsure how best to help a student.

Director of Case Management Program
320-308-3171
This program provides supportive services to distressed students, including advocacy, crisis intervention and consultation. This program also provides liaison between the University and community for students struggling with a variety of concerns including mental health, social, financial, academic, and other concerns. This program is located in CAPS, collaborates with SLD departments as well as all academic departments at the University and is a member of the BIT.

PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS

For faculty and staff, the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines allow information about students to be shared when you are concerned about a student's health or safety. While counselors and medical personnel have much more restrictive limits about when they can share information, they are able to accept information from anyone with concerns.

IN AN EMERGENCY

These are rare instances when a student's behavior poses a threat of:

  • Danger and/or injury to self or others
  • Significant disruption of the educational process
  • Property destruction

In these cases, prompt action should be taken. Depending on your circumstances and level of concern you might:

  • Attempt to calm the student
  • Ask the student to leave your class or area
  • Dismiss your class and leave the area
  • Call 911 and Public Safety at 320-308-3333 if you perceive an imminent threat or need immediate assistance with a student.

CAMPUS RESOURCES

Student Life and Development
320-308-3111, Atwood Memorial Center 219

Counseling and Psychological Services
320-308-3171, Stewart Hall 103

Student Health Services
320-308-3191, Hill Hall

Public Safety
320-308-3333, Public Safety Center