Document Sample
					DEALING WITH DISTRESSED                                   witness a diminishment in awareness of
STUDENTS                                                  what is going on around them, forgetting        7.   Violence and Aggression. You may
                                                          or losing things, misperception of facts or          become aware of students who may be
                                                          reality, rambling or disconnected speech,            dangerous to others.          This may be
Any member of the Trinity Western University              and behavior that seems out of context or            manifested by physically violent behavior,
community may come into contact with a                    bizarre.                                             verbal threats, threatening e-mail or
distressed student. Being aware of distress                                                                    letters, harassing or stalking behavior, and
signals, methods of intervention, and sources of     4.   Drug Abuse. Drug abuse affects the                   papers or exams that contain violent or
help for the student can help you feel more in            brain and body directly. Stimulants like             threatening material.
control of situations that may arise. The mental          cocaine and methamphetamine “amp up”
health professionals at the Counseling Center             the body.        Drugs like opiates and         8.   Panic Attacks.        Everyone knows what
are available to student leaders, faculty and             marijuana slow down the body, breathing              it’s like to feel worried, nervous, afraid or
staff for consultation regarding these issues.            and alertness. Signs of abuse include                panicky. Often anxiety is short-lived, but
Feel free to call us at 513-2100 if you would like        cycles    of    increased   energy    and            sometimes it can be debilitating and lead
to discuss these matters further.                         restlessness, abnormally slow movements,             to full blown panic attacks.        When a
                                                          speech or reaction time, confusion and               person is having a panic attack they may
DISTRESS SIGNALS                                          disorientation. For snorted drugs, chronic           be experiencing shortness of breath, heart
                                                          trouble with nosebleeds and for smoked               palpitations, dizziness, sweating, nausea,
Listed below are some of the more prevalent               drugs, a persistent cough leading to                 feeling of unreality – like they’re “not all
signs of someone in distress.       This list is          coughing up excessive mucus or blood.                there”; or like they are losing control of
intended to provide basic information only.                                                                    their mind.
                                                     5.   Alcohol Abuse. The difference between
1.   Depression.      While we all may feel               social drinking and alcohol abuse is when       INTERVENTION GUIDELINES
     depressed from time to time, "normal"                alcohol becomes the focus. A student
     depressions may consist of only one or               may only want to attend social events that      While it is not expected that you be a
     two symptoms and usually pass within                 involve alcohol. Alcohol abusers drink too      "watchdog", you may be the first contact for a
     days. Clinically depressed students will             much on a regular basis and the alcohol         student in distress and in a position to ask a few
     exhibit multiple symptoms for a longer               use is self-destructive. Signs of alcohol       questions. Following these guidelines can lead
     period of time. Some of these symptoms               abuse       include       slurred     speech,   to a positive outcome for all parties.
     are      sleep     disturbances,      poor           unsteadiness, blackouts, redness in the
     concentration, change in appetite, loss of           face, increased irritability, and unexplained   1. Safety First! Always keep safety in mind
     interest    in   pleasurable     activities,         absences.                                          as you interact with a distressed student.
     withdrawal, poor hygiene, loss of self-                                                                 Maintain a safe distance and a route of
     worth, and preoccupation with death.            6.   Suicidal Thoughts. Most people who                 escape should you need it. If danger to you
                                                          attempt    suicide    communicate     early        or the student seems imminent, call 911 or
2.   Agitation or Acting Out. This would                  messages about their distress.       These         Security at local 2099.
     represent a departure from normal or                 messages can range from "I don't want to
     socially appropriate behavior. It might              be here", to a series of vague "good-           2. Avoid Escalation.       Distressed students
     include being disruptive, restlessness or            byes", to "I'm going to kill myself." Non-         can sometimes be easily provoked. Avoid
     hyperactivity, being antagonistic, and               verbal messages could include giving away          threatening, humiliating, and intimidating
     increased alcohol and/or drug abuse.                 valued items, and putting legal, financial,        responses. It is usually not a good idea to
                                                          and University affairs in order. All of the        "pull rank" and assert authority unless you
3.   Disorientation.      Some      distressed            above messages should be taken                     are certain of the student's mental health
     students may seem "out of it." You may               seriously.
    status. Distressed students are in need of
    listening and support.                           REFERRAL SOURCES
3. Ask Direct Questions. Take a calm and             TWU Wellness Center: 604-513-2024
   matter-of-fact approach.      Ask students
   directly if they are drunk, confused or if        Langley Mental Health: 604-514-7940
                                                                                                      HOW TO DEAL WITH
   they have thoughts of harming themselves.
   You need not be afraid to ask these               Fraser South Mental Health After Hours
   questions. You will not be "putting ideas in
   their heads" by doing so. Most distressed
                                                     Services: 604-587-4222
   students are relieved to know that someone        911 (for police, fire and medical emergencies
   has noticed and is paying attention.              only)
4. Do Not Assume You Are Being
   Manipulated. While it is true that some
   students appear distressed in order to get
   attention or relief from responsibility, only a
   thorough assessment can determine this.
   Attention-seekers      can    have      serious
   problems and be in danger, too.

5. Know Your Limits. You will be able to
   assist many distressed students on your
   own by simply listening and referring them
   for further help. Some students will need
   much more than you can provide.
                                                     OUR MISSION STATEMENT
   Encourage them for confiding in you, be
   accepting and nonjudgmental, try to               The mission of the Counselling Center is to:
   identify the problem area, and indicate that
   seeking professional help is a positive and          provide counselling services to students,
   responsible thing to do.                              faculty and staff.                          A Guide for TWU Student Leaders,
                                                        provide consultation services regarding
                                                                                                             Faculty and Staff
    Some signs that you may have over-
    extended yourself include:                           emotional health issues to the Trinity
                                                         Western University community.
       Feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by
        the situation                                   provide internship opportunities for grad     Prepared by the Wellness Centre
                                                         students in the counseling psychology
                                                                                                           2nd floor Douglas Centre
       Feeling angry at the student                     program.
                                                                                                                   Aug. 2009
       Feeling afraid

       "Reliving" similar experiences of your

Shared By: