Faculty are often on the front lines for students in distress. A student often views a professor as confidant, role model or friend. You are welcome to call University Counseling Services to consult with one of our staff about how to best help a student. You can reach us at (804) 828-6200.
Students will often approach a faculty member about their concerns before talking to a friend or a family member. Some common problems:
The key to recognizing distress is to look for change:
Three basic things to remember
Sometimes a student will talk about commiting suicide. These types of statements should be taken very seriously, and the student should be encouraged to seek immediate services at University Counseling Services. We provide 24-hour-per-day, 365-day-per-year emergency services.
If the student refuses to seek services, call us and we will assist you in meeting the particular needs of the student.
If you suspect a student may be suicidal, asking will not "plant the idea" or make it more likely that the student will attempt suicide. Most often, students will be relieved that someone is recognizing the extent of their pain. University Counseling Services can help you manage this type of situation.
It is very important for you to remember that you are not responsible for the student's actions. If you are upset about a situation like this, it is equally important that you seek the support you need. University Counseling Services can help support you and refer you to additional appropriate resources if necessary.
If a student threatens violence to you or to others, please contact the VCU Police immediately. Safety considerations are paramount in this type of situation. VCU Police work closely with University Counseling Services to assure safety for the university community and to assist the troubled student.