Office of the Vice President
       Division of Student Affairs
Dear Faculty and Staff:

       Has this ever happened to you?
       •   A student comes to your office and is obviously intoxicated and disruptive.

       •   A student reveals to you that he/she is having thoughts of suicide.

       •   A student, obviously upset, tells you that despite her third- year standing she is
           thinking about changing her academic major for the third time.
       •   A student, who is usually well-prepared for class begins to miss class, fails to
           complete assignments, and becomes inattentive to hygiene and personal appearance.

The Problem
College students often experience high levels of stress. Most students successfully cope with
university life; however, some become overwhelmed. A significant number of college students
have their education and personal lives disrupted by psychological problems. When
psychological difficulties go untreated, the results can be serious and include academic failure
and even withdrawal from the university.

Most psychological problems – even the more serious disorders such as depression, anxiety
disorders, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress – have high rates of recovery if appropriate
help is received in time. Unfortunately, many students fail to get the help they need for any
number of reasons, including lack of knowledge about the early signs of psychological
difficulties, denial, and lack of information about campus resources that can provide help.

Your Role
Faculty and staff play a key role in identifying and responding to distressed students. As a
faculty or staff member you often get the first glimpse of students in trouble and may be the
first person who students turn to for help. Responding to students in distress, however, can
be confusing and overwhelming. Counseling Center staff psychologists, academic skills
counselors and disability support specialists prepared this guide to assist you in responding to
students in distress.

If you wish to consult with professionals or believe that a student should do so, we welcome
the opportunity to help. Please call (x47651) for assistance. For consultation with staff
psychologists on non-emergency issues contact our Faculty/Staff Warmline (x47653). We
appreciate the role you play as a help-giver in the campus community, and hope that this guide
will be useful to you in your efforts.

                                        The Staff of the University Counseling Center
                            Table of Contents

Responding to Student Emergencies                 1

Referring a Student for Professional Help         2

Awareness of Cultural Differences                 3

Responding to Emotional Distress

      Anxious Student                             4

      Demanding Student                           5

      Depressed Student                           6

      Eating Disordered Student                   7

      Suicidal Student                            8

      Severely Disoriented or Psychotic Student   9

      Aggressive or Potentially Violent Student   10

Responding to Substance Abuse                     11

Responding to Victims of Violence

      Abusive Dating Relationship                 12

      Sexual Assault                              13

      Hate Incident                               14

      Hazing                                      15

      Stalking                                    16

Table of Contents (continued)

Responding to Students with Disabilities                      17

Responding to Academic Problems

      Failing Student                                         18

      Academic Dismissal                                      19

      Writing Anxiety                                         20

      Learning Skills                                         21

      Math Anxiety                                            22

      Exam Anxiety                                            23

      Procrastination                                         24

Responding to Career Concerns

      Undecided Student                                       25

      Indecisive Student                                      25

Campus Resources

      University Counseling Center Resources                  26

      Other Campus Resources                                  26

Additional Contacts/Resources                  inside back cover



Responding to Student Emergencies                                     WHAT TO DO
Immediate and decisive intervention is needed                         •     Move the student to a quiet and
when student behavior poses a threat to self or                             secure place.
others, including:                                                    •     Listen attentively, and respond in
                                                                            a straightforward and considerate
•   Suicidal gestures, intentions, or attempts                              way.
•   Other behavior posing a threat to the student                     •     Enlist the help of a co-worker so
    (e.g., hallucinations, drug abuse)                                      that the student isn’t left alone and
•   Threats or aggression directed toward others                            you aren’t left alone with the
•   Demonstrated inability to care for oneself                              student.
                                                                      •     Make arrangements for appropriate
Campus resources for responding to mental health                            university intervention.
emergencies are:                                                      •     When contacting a campus resource,
                                                                            have available as much information
•   Counseling Center in Shoemaker Building                                 as possible, including your name;
    (x47651)                                                                the student’s name and location; a
•   Mental Health Service in the Health Center                              description of the circumstances
    (x48106)                                                                and the type of assistance needed;
•   Campus Police (911 or x53333)                                           the exact location of the student in
                                                                            the building; and an accurate
For consultation with a counselor, call (x47651)                            description of the student.
or walk the student to the Counseling Center in
Shoemaker Building.

If the student requires immediate medical
attention or hospitalization, call the Mental
Health Service (x48106).

If the student is unmanageable (e.g., aggressive,
hostile, refusing care), call the Campus Police
(911 or x53333) for assistance in transporting
the student to the appropriate facility.

If you are directly threatened by a student or
feel at risk, call the Campus Police (911 or

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)      x47651


WHEN TO REFER                                                       HOW TO REFER
In many cases of student distress, faculty and                      •   Speak to the student in a direct,
staff provide adequate help through empathic                            concerned, straightforward manner.
listening, facilitating open discussion of                          •   Because many students initially resist the
problems, instilling hope, conveying acceptance,                        idea of counseling, be caring but firm in
and offering basic advice.                                              your judgment that counseling would be
                                                                        helpful. Also be clear about the reasons
In some cases, however, students need                                   that you are concerned.
professional help to overcome problems and to
resume effective coping. The following signs                        •   Be knowledgeable in advance about the
indicate that a student may need counseling:                            services and procedures of the
                                                                        Counseling Center and other campus
•   The student remains distressed following                            help-giving agencies. The best referrals
    repeated attempts by you and others to be                           are made to specific people or services.
    helpful.                                                        •   Suggest that the student call to make an
•   The student becomes increasingly isolated,                          appointment, and provide the Counseling
    unkempt, irritable, or disconnected.                                Center number (x47651) and location
                                                                        (Shoemaker Building).
•   The student’s academic or social
    performance deteriorates.                                       •   Remind the student that services are
                                                                        FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL.
•   The student’s behavior reflects increased
    hopelessness or helplessness.                                   •   Sometimes it is useful to more actively
                                                                        assist students in scheduling an initial
•   You find yourself doing on- going counseling                        counseling appointment. You can offer
    rather than consultation or advising.                               the use of your phone or call the
                                                                        receptionist yourself while the student
                                                                        waits in your office. In some situations,
                                                                        you may find it wise to walk the student
       A NOTE ON CONFIDENTIALITY                                        over to the Counseling Center.
                                                                    •   If you need help in deciding on whether
We are required by law and by professional ethics
to protect the confidentiality of all communication                     or not it is appropriate to make a referral,
between psychologist and client (except in cases                        call the Counseling Center WARM-LINE
where harm to self or harm to others is involved).                      at x47651 for consultation with a
Consequently, we cannot discuss the details of a                        professional.
student’s situation with others or even indicate
whether the student is, in fact, in counseling. For
information about the student to be released to
you or others, we must first get permission from
the student.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651


     Race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of difference
     are important to keep mind as you help a distressed student. Reactions to racism, sexism,
     homophobia, disability status, etc. can affect the way in which emotional distress is manifested
     and also can impact help-seeking behavior. General barriers to seeking help — e.g., denial, fear
     of being labeled in a negative way, lack of information about campus resources — may be even
     more troublesome for students from underrepresented groups. Communicating support, concern,
     and understanding is critical in reaching students who may feel isolated and marginalized.

     Your sensitivity to the unique needs of international students, LGBT students, students of color,
     students with disabilities, non-traditional-aged college students, and other underrepresented
     groups can be important in helping culturally different students get assistance. Furthermore,
     being knowledgeable about campus resources that address the unique needs of culturally
     different and underrepresented students is also important.

                 Counseling Center Students of Color Walk- in Hour (x47651)
                 Office of Multi- Ethnic Student Education (x55616)

                 Counseling Center Staff and Programs (x47651)
                 International Education Services (x41469)
                 Counseling Center Learning Assistance Service
                         — ESOL Conversation Program (x47693)

            LGBT STUDENTS
                 Counseling Center Rainbow Walk-In Hour (x47651)
                 Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity (x58720)
                 LGBT Studies (x55428)
                 President’s Commission on LGBT Issues (x52475)

                 Counseling Center Disability Support Services (x47682)

                 Counseling Center Returning Students Program (x47693)

 Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651

The ANXIOUS student

    WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Anxiety
    •     Talk to the student in private.                            Anxiety can be generalized across a range of
                                                                     situations, or it may be situation-specific (e.g.,
    •     Remain calm and assume control in a
                                                                     test anxiety, social anxiety, public speaking
          soothing manner.
    •     Focus on relevant information,
          speaking concretely and concisely.                         Symptoms of anxiety include:
    •     Help the student develop an action
          plan that addresses the main concern.                      •   agitation
    •     Refer the student to the Counseling                        •   panic
          Center (x47651) for counseling.                            •   avoidance
    •     Refer the student to the Mental Health                     •   irrational fears
          Service (x48106) for medication.
                                                                     •   fear of losing control
    AVOID                                                            •   ruminations
                                                                     •   excessive worry
    •     Overwhelming the student with                              •   sleep or eating problems
          information or complicated solutions.
    •     Arguing with irrational thoughts.                          Research suggests that in cases of extreme
                                                                     anxiety, the most effective treatment is often a
    •     Devaluing the information presented.
                                                                     combination of psychotherapy and medication.
    •     Assuming the student will get over the
          anxiety without treatment.

        Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                              RESPONDING TO EMOTIONAL DISTRESS                    5

The DEMANDING student

Facts about Demanding Students                                     WHAT TO DO
•   Demanding students can be intrusive and                        •   Talk to the student in a place that is
    persistent and may require much time and                           safe and comfortable.
    attention.                                                     •   Remain calm and in control.
•   Demanding traits can be associated with                        •   Set clear limits and hold the student to
    anxiety, depression, and/or personality                            the allotted time for the discussion.
                                                                   •   Emphasize behaviors that are and
Characteristics of demanding students                                  aren’t acceptable.
include:                                                           •   Respond quickly and with clear limits
                                                                       to behavior that disrupts class, study
•   a sense of entitlement                                             sessions, or consultations.
•   an inability to empathize                                      •   Be prepared for manipulative requests
•   a need for control                                                 and behaviors.
•   difficulty in dealing with ambiguity                           •   Call the Counseling Center WARM-
                                                                       LINE (x47651) for help with identifying
•   perfectionism                                                      strategies for dealing with disruptive
•   difficulty with structure and limits                               behaviors.
•   dependency                                                     •   Refer the student to the Counseling
•   fears about handling life                                          Center (x47651) for counseling and/or
                                                                       a referral for off-campus therapy.

                                                                   •   Arguing with the student.
                                                                   •   Giving in to inappropriate requests.
                                                                   •   Adjusting your schedule or policies to
                                                                       accommodate the student.
                                                                   •   Ignoring inappropriate behavior that
                                                                       has an impact on you or other students.
                                                                   •   Feeling obligated to take care of the
                                                                       student or feeling guilty for not doing
                                                                   •   Allowing the student to intimidate you.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651

The DEPRESSED student

    WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Depression
    •     Talk to the student in private.                            •   Depression is a common mental health
    •     Listen carefully and validate the                              problem that varies in severity and duration.
          student’s feelings and experiences.                        •   In its less serious form, depression is a
    •     Be supportive and express your                                 temporary reaction to loss, stress, or life
          concern about the situation.                                   challenges. It can be alleviated through the
    •     Ask the student if he/she has thoughts                         passage of time and/or the natural healing
          of suicide.                                                    effects of social support, daily routines, and
                                                                         simple coping strategies like distraction and
    •     Discuss clearly and concisely an                               exercise.
          action plan, such as having the
          student immediately call for a                             •   Severe or chronic depression usually requires
          counseling appointment.                                        professional help.
    •     Refer the student to the Counseling                        Symptoms of depression include:
          Center (x47651) or Mental Health
          Service (x48106).                                          •   feelings of emptiness, hopelessness,
    •     Be willing to consider or offer                                helplessness, and worthlessness
          accommodations (e.g., extension on a                       •   a deep sense of sadness
          paper or exam), if appropriate, as a
          way to alleviate stress and instill hope.                  •   an inability to experience pleasure
                                                                     •   irregular eating and sleeping
    AVOID                                                            •   difficulties with concentration, memory, and
                                                                         decision- making
    •     Ignoring the student.
                                                                     •   fatigue and social withdrawal
    •     Downplaying the situation.
    •     Arguing with the student or disputing                      Sometimes depression includes irritation,
          that the student is feeling depressed.                     anxiety, and anger.
    •     Providing too much information for
          the student to process.                                    In its most serious form, depression can be
                                                                     accompanied by self-destructive thoughts and
    •     Expecting the student to stop feeling                      intentions as a way to escape from the emotional
          depressed without intervention.                            pain.
    •     Assuming the family knows about the
          student’s depression.                                      Research shows that depression is highly
                                                                     responsive to both psychotherapy and

        Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                                RESPONDING TO EMOTIONAL DISTRESS                   7


Facts about Eating Disorders                                           WHAT TO DO
•   Eating disorders arise from a combination of                       •    Speak to the student in private.
    psychological, interpersonal, and socio-cultural
    factors and have serious emotional, mental and                     •    Be supportive and express concern
    medical consequences.                                                   for the student’s health and
•   Characteristics of anorexia nervosa include severe
    restriction of food intake; refusal to maintain                    •    Identify specific behaviors or
    minimally normal weight; intense fear of weight and                     symptoms that are of concern.
    fat; and obsessive focus on weight as a basis of                   •    Refer the student to Eating Disorder
    self-worth.                                                             specialists at the Health Center
•   Characteristics of bulimia include excessive concern                    (x47651) or Counseling Center
    with body weight/shape; recurrent episodes of binge                     (x48106) for assessment, medical
    eating and “purging behaviors”, such as self- induced                   and nutritional evaluations and
    vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills;               counseling/psychotherapy.
    fasting; or excessive exercise.
•   Binge-eating/compulsive overeating involves                        AVOID
    impulsive eating, independent of appetite, without                 •    Focusing on weight rather than
    purging behaviors. These behaviors may be habitual or                   health and effective functioning.
    reflect the same psychological features as bulimia.
                                                                       •    Judging the student’s behaviors or
•   Depression/anxiety often accompany eating disorders.                    labeling them (“self-destructive”).
Symptoms associated with eating disorders include:                     •    Recommending solutions such as
                                                                            “accept yourself” or “just eat
•   marked decrease/increase in weight                                      healthy”.
•   preoccupation with weight and body shape                           •    Commenting on student’s weight
•   moodiness or irritability                                               loss, as you may be inadvertently
•   social withdrawal                                                       encouraging unhealthy behaviors.
•   development of abnormal or secretive eating behaviors              •    Getting into a battle of wills with the
                                                                            student. If the student is resisting
•   food restriction or purging behaviors                                   your efforts, restate your concerns
•   fatigue and increased susceptibility to illness                         and leave the door open for further
•   perfectionism                                                           contact. If you think the situation is
                                                                            urgent, consult a professional at the
Treatment of eating disorders combines psychological,                       Counseling Center or Health Center
medical and nutritional procedures. In extreme cases, a                     for further advice.
student may need to leave campus to obtain more                        •    Assuming that the family knows
intensive or inpatient care.                                                about the disorder.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)     x47651

The SUICIDAL student

    WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Suicide
    •     Talk to the student in private.                            •   Although suicide is a rare event, it is the
    •     Remain calm and stay in control.                               second leading cause of death among
    •     Take the student’s disclosure as a                             college students.
          serious plea for help.                                     •   Suicidal states are often associated with
    •     Ask the student directly about feelings                        major depression, a combination of acute
          and plans.                                                     anxiety and depression, post traumatic stress
                                                                         disorder, and bipolar disorder.
    •     Express care and concern, and assure
          the student that you will help her/him                     •   Suicidal people often tell people about their
          reach a professional.                                          thoughts or give clues to others about their
    •     Escort the student to the Mental Health
          Service in the Health Center (x48106)                      Some factors associated with suicide risk are:
          or to the Counseling Center in
          Shoemaker Building (x47651).                               •   suicidal thoughts
    •     Call 911 on weekends or after hours.                       •   pessimistic view of the future
                                                                     •   intense feelings of hopelessness, especially
    AVOID                                                                when combined with anxiety
                                                                     •   feelings of alienation and isolation
    •     Minimizing the situation. All threats
          need to be considered potentially lethal.                  •   viewing death as a means of escape from
    •     Arguing with the student about the                             distress
          merits of living.                                          •   personal or family history of depression or
    •     Allowing friends to assume                                     psychosis
          responsibility for the student without                     •   personal or family history of suicide attempts
          getting input from a professional.                         •   substance abuse
    •     Assuming the family knows that the                         •   history of self- mutilation
          student has suicidal thoughts.
                                                                     A suicidal student who confides in someone is
                                                                     often ambivalent about suicide and open to
                                                                     Students who are at high risk usually have a
                                                                     specific plan, have a means that is lethal (e.g.,
                                                                     medication, knife, gun), and tend to be or feel

        Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                              RESPONDING TO EMOTIONAL DISTRESS                    9


Facts about Psychotic Thinking                                     WHAT TO DO
•   The main feature of psychotic thinking is                      •   Consult with a professional at the
    poor reality testing or “being out of touch                        Mental Health Service (x48106) or
    with reality”.                                                     Counseling Center (x47651) to assess
                                                                       the student’s level of dysfunction.
Symptoms include:
                                                                   •   Speak to the student in a direct
•   disorganized speech and behavior                                   and concrete manner regarding
                                                                       your plan for getting him/her to
•   extremely odd or eccentric behavior                                a safe environment.
•   inappropriate or complete lack of emotion                      •   Accompany the student to the Mental
•   bizarre behavior that could indicate                               Health Service in the Health Center or
    hallucinations                                                     the Counseling Center, or arrange for
•   strange beliefs that involve a serious                             a police escort (911) to a local hospital’s
    misinterpretation of reality                                       emergency room if the student is highly
•   social withdrawal
                                                                   •   Recognize that psychotic states can
•   inability to connect with or track normal                          involve extreme emotion or lack of
    communication                                                      emotion and intense fear to the point
                                                                       of paranoia.
Bipolar disorder involves periods of serious
depression combined with periods of extreme                        •   Recognize that a student in this state
euphoria and frenzied thinking and behavior, the                       may be dangerous to self or others.
latter of which can reflect poor reality testing.
Psychological illnesses that involve psychotic
features often have an onset between the late                      •   Assuming the student will be able to
teens and early 30s.                                                   care for him/herself.
                                                                   •   Agitating the student.
                                                                   •   Arguing with unrealistic thoughts.
                                                                   •   Assuming the student understands you.
                                                                   •   Allowing friends to care for the student
                                                                       without getting professional advice.
                                                                   •   Getting locked into one way of dealing
                                                                       with the student. Be flexible.
                                                                   •   Assuming the family knows about the
                                                                       student’s condition.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651


 WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Aggression
 •     Assess your level of safety. Call 911 if you
                                                                  •   Aggression varies from threats to verbal
       feel in danger.
                                                                      abuse to physical abuse and violence.
 •     Remain in an open area with a visible
                                                                  •   It is very difficult to predict aggression and
       means of escape.
 •     Explain to the student the behaviors that
       are unacceptable.                                          Some indicators of potential violence include:
 •     Stay calm and gain control of the situation
       by setting limits.                                         •   paranoia/mistrust
 •     Use a time -out strategy (that is, ask the                 •   an unstable school or vocational history
       student to reschedule a meeting with you                   •   a history of juvenile violence or substance
       once she/he has calmed down) if the                            abuse
       student refuses to cooperate and remains
                                                                  •   prior history of violence or abuse
       aggressive and/or agitated.
                                                                  •   fascination with weapons
 •     Consult with professionals at the
       Counseling Center (x47651).                                •   history of cruelty to animals as a child or
 •     Contact the Campus Police (x53555) to
       see if they have a record of previous                      •   impulse control problems
       abuse by this student.
 •     Contact the Campus Police (x53555) to
       have them come to monitor the situation.
 •     Staying in a situation in which you feel
 •     Meeting alone with the student.
 •     Engaging in a screaming match or
       behaving in other ways that escalate
       anxiety and aggression.
 •     Ignoring signs that the student’s anger is
 •     Touching the student or crowding his/her
       sense of personal space.
 •     Ignoring a gut reaction that you are in

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651


Facts about Substance Abuse                                           WHAT TO DO
•   Alcohol and drug abuse among college                              •     Treat the situation as serious.
    students interferes with academic                                 •     Share your concern and encourage
    performance, puts them at risk for serious                              the student to seek help.
    accidents and even death, and can lead to
                                                                      •     Recognize that denial is a powerful
    addiction problems for a subset of
    individuals.                                                            aspect of substance problems and
                                                                            that it can involve conscious or
•   Substance use and abuse among college                                   unconscious lying and distorting of
    students is often a misguided way to cope                               the truth.
    with anxiety, depression, and the stressors
                                                                      •     Refer the student to the Alcohol and
    of college life.
                                                                            Drug Programs unit of the Health
•   Research shows that the most abused                                     Center (x48126), or the Counseling
    substance is alcohol and that a large                                   Center (x47651) for assessment and
    number of college students engage in                                    counseling.
    binge drinking.

Signs that a student may have a substance
problem include:
                                                                      •     Ignoring or making light of the
•   repeated failure to handle academics, work                              problem.
    or personal responsibilities                                      •     Chastising or condoning the
•   a pattern of unexplained underachievement                               behavior.
•   substance-related disciplinary or legal                           •     Assuming that experimenting with
    problems such as assault, driving under the                             drugs or alcohol is harmless.
    influence, and date rape
•   denial of the negative and harmful
    consequences of substance use, even
    in the face of serious problems.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)      x47651


 WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Abusive Relationships
 •    See the student in private.                                 •   Abusive relationships often involve a
 •    Recognize that the student may be                               repeating pattern of verbal, sexual,
      fearful and vulnerable.                                         emotional and physical abuse that
                                                                      increases over time.
 •    Remember that abusive relationships
      involve complex dynamics, including                         Indicators of abusive relationships include:
      high levels of denial and, thus, are
      difficult to change.                                        •   verbal abuse
 •    Be aware that interventions from a                          •   isolation from friends and family
      variety of sources increase the
      chances for change.                                         •   fear of abandonment
 •    Refer the student to the Counseling                         •   fear of partner’s temper
      Center for help (x47651).                                   •   fear of intimidation
 •    Encourage the student to call the                           •   acceptance of highly controlling behavior
      Campus Police when rape or violence                         •   assuming responsibility for partner’s abusive
      is involved (911 or x53333).                                    behavior
 •    Encourage the student to connect                            •   feeling trapped
      with family and friends.
                                                                  •   fear of leaving the relationship
 •    Downplaying the situation.
 •    Lecturing the student about poor
 •    Expecting the student to make quick

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                        RESPONDING TO VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE                       13


Facts about Sexual Assault                                          WHAT TO DO
•   Sexual assault is sexual contact initiated                      •   Listen without conveying judgment
    against a person without consent.                                   and be aware that victims can feel
•   Consent can’t be inferred from passivity                            shame and anger.
    or silence; nor can a current or previous                       •   Refer the student to the Counseling
    relationship constitute consent.                                    Center for assessment and referral
Examples of sexual assault include:                                 •   Refer to the Health Center if the
                                                                        student needs immediate medical
•   completed or attempted rape                                         attention (x48126).
•   threats of rape                                                 •   Refer the student to the P.G. County
•   sexual coercion                                                     Sexual Assault Center (301-618-3154)
•   unwanted sexual contact with force or threat                        after 8:00 p.m., or 4:30 p.m. on
    of force                                                            Fridays.
•   stalking                                                        •   Tell the student that sexual assault
                                                                        recovery counseling is available at
Although most assaults are committed by men                             both the Counseling Center (x47651)
against women, men can be assaulted by women,                           and the Mental Health Service
and same-sex assaults also occur.                                       (x48106).

                                                                    •   Expressing judgment even when
                                                                        high-risk behaviors on the part of
                                                                        the victim (e.g., intoxication) were
                                                                    •   Pressuring the student to file a police

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651


 WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Hate Incidents
 •     Talk to the victimized student in                          •   A hate crime is a criminal act against a
       private.                                                       person or her/his property because of that
 •     Recognize that the student is probably                         person’s actual or perceived race, color,
       experiencing a range of intense                                religion, nationality, disability, gender or
       feelings, including shame, anger,                              sexual orientation.
       fear, and denial.                                          •   A hate incident is an act that, while not
 •     Refer the student to the Office of                             meeting the legal definition of a crime,
       Human Relations (x52838).                                      involves the same types of behavior and
 •     Explain the importance of notifying                            targeting of underrepresented groups. Hate
       the campus police.                                             incidents are more common on college
                                                                      campuses than hate crimes.
 •     Refer the student to the Counseling
       Center (x47651) for recovery

 •     Downplaying the situation.
 •     Expressing personal biases.
 •     Getting caught up in the technicalities
       or legalities of the situation.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                        RESPONDING TO VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE                      15


Facts about Hazing                                           WHAT TO DO
•   Hazing involves persecution and                          •   Talk to the victimized student in
    harassment with difficult, meaningless,                      private.
    or humiliating tasks; it is used as a rite               •   Recognize that the student may be
    of passage or initiation into a campus                       feeling vulnerable and experiencing
    organization.                                                a range of emotions.
•   Hazing can be psychologically damaging                   •   Advise the student to report the
    and present serious physical risks                           incident to the Office of the
    (including death) to students.                               Vice President for Student Affairs
•   A student may or may not know that                           (x48430).
    hazing will be a part of an initiation                   •   Advise the student to report the
    process.                                                     incident to the Campus Police
•   A student may or may not know how                            (x53333).
    extreme hazing might become during an                    •   Refer the student for follow-up
    initiation process.                                          counseling at the Counseling Center
•   Campus rules and regulations prohibit                        (x47651), if appropriate.
    hazing, and some hazing activities are
    illegal.                                                 AVOID
                                                             •   Minimizing the situation.
                                                             •   Agreeing to being bound to

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651


 WHAT TO DO                                                        Facts about Stalking
 •     Encourage the victimized student to                         •   Stalking is repeated following or
       trust his/her instincts.                                        harassment of an individual that is
 •     Advise the student to contact the                               designed to instill a sense of fear or
       Campus Police (x53333).                                         danger.
 •     Advise the student to document                              •   Stalkers often have an irrational obsession
       unwanted contacts and maintain                                  with the victim and try to gain power and
       evidence of harassment.                                         omnipotence through control and
 •     Advise the student to take precautions
       to ensure safety, including a change in                     •   Stalking behavior includes tailing the
       routine travel routes and schedules,                            victim as well as harassment via phone,
       and making use of campus escorts                                email, FAX, and letters; unwanted gifts;
       when possible (x53555).                                         and unwanted attentiveness.
 •     Refer the student to the Counseling                         •   Stalkers can be male or female and targets
       Center for supportive counseling                                can be of the same or opposite sex.

 •     Ignoring or minimizing the situation.
 •     Suggesting that the victim is
       responsible for the unwanted
 •     Taking responsibility for protecting
       the student.
 •     Failing to alert the proper authorities.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651


Facts about Disability                                              WHAT TO DO
•    Students with documentation of a physical,                     •   Speak to the student in private about
     learning or psychiatric disability are eligible to                 your concerns.
     access accommodations through the Office of                    •   Treat each student with sensitivity
     Disability Support Services (x47682) at the                        and respect.
     Counseling Center.
                                                                    •   Acknowledge the difficulties that the
•    Students with physical disabilities present                        student is having.
     special classroom access needs associated with
                                                                    •   Refer the student to Disability
     limitations in mobility, speaking, hearing,
     and/or vision.                                                     Support Services (DSS) (x47682) at
                                                                        the Counseling Center.
•    Students with medical disorders may
                                                                    •   Be open to follow-up consultation
     experience difficulties participating in their
     academic programs due to the condition itself                      with DSS regarding accommodations
     or the ongoing treatment protocol.                                 for the student.
                                                                    •   Remember that any student
•    Students with learning disabilities have
     neurological impairments that interfere with                       requesting accommodations must
     and slow down information processing, memory                       have valid documentation on file
     and retrieval, and output. These disabilities can                  with DSS and present verification of
     have a detrimental impact on reading, writing,                     approved accommodations.
     math, attention, concentration, and/or overall
     organization.                                                  AVOID
•    Students with psychiatric disabilities have a
     chronic and debilitating psychological condition               •   Using patronizing language with the
     that interferes with their ability to participate in               student.
     the routine educational program. Examples of                   •   Underestimating or questioning the
     conditions that fall under this classification                     stated disability.
     include Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression,                    •   Assuming the student understands
     Anxiety Disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress                       the academic limitations imposed by
     Disorder.                                                          the disability.
•    Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity                  •   Assuming the student qualifies for
     Disorder (AD/HD) may experience inattentive,                       accommodations without DSS
     hyperactive, and/or impulsive behaviors due to a                   verification.
     dysfunction of the central nervous system. These
     behaviors may compromise an individual’s social,
     vocational and academic performance.
•    Students with disabilities may not realize
     that they have a particular problem and that
     treatment/accommodations are available.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651

The FAILING student

 WHAT TO DO                                                        Facts about the Failing Student
 •     Encourage the student to make a                             •   The student may come to class late or often
       private appointment.                                            may be absent.
 •     Review the student’s performance in                         •   The student usually does not understand
       the course.                                                     the course content.
 •     Make suggestions for improvement.                           •   The student may be unaware of campus
 •     Refer the student to the Learning                               resources to combat the problem.
       Assistance Service of the Counseling                        •   Negative thinking and behavior may be
       Center (x47693).                                                evident early in the course.
 •     Refer the student to the Counseling                         •   The student might lack preparation or
       Center (x47651) for personal/social                             interest in the course.
       counseling and educational/vocational                       •   The student may not be able to balance
       counseling.                                                     work, social activities and academic study
 •     Concluding that the student is just
 •     Waiting to connect with the student.
 •     Presuming the student lacks the
       ability to be successful.
 •     Discouraging the student who really
       does have the time to improve.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651
                                                             RESPONDING TO ACADEMIC PROBLEMS                    19


Facts about Academically                                         WHAT TO DO
Dismissed Students                                               •   Talk with the student in private.
                                                                 •   Listen to the student’s concerns.
•   Check the website for the University’s Office
    of the Registrar’s official policies regarding               •   Remind the student that current academic
    academic dismissal:                                              requirements and policies are listed in the                     Schedule of Classes, in the UM Catalog,
                                                                     and on the UM website.
•   Problems leading to academic dismissal often
                                                                 •   Have the student explain the main reasons
    include wrong major; financial difficulties;
    too many outside work hours; an accident;                        for the dismissal.
    illness of student or family members; the need               •   Ask the student if he/she has seen an
    for improved study skills, especially time                       academic advisor.
    management; and a failure to use campus                      •   Refer the student to an academic advisor
    resources.                                                       to develop a two-semester corrective plan.
•   The student can write a letter of appeal to the              •   Encourage the student to write a letter
    Faculty Petition Board, explaining specific                      of appeal to the Faculty Petition Board,
    problems during the semester and the planned                     Office of Reinstatement and
    interventions to insure future academic success.                 Re-enrollment, Mitchell Building.
                                                                 •   Refer the student to the Learning
                                                                     Assistance Service (x47693) at the
                                                                     Counseling Center for advice regarding
                                                                     the letter of appeal for reinstatement.
                                                                 •   Refer the student to the Counseling
                                                                     Center (x47651) to discuss personal/social
                                                                     issues or to have educational/vocational
                                                                     counseling, if needed.

                                                                 •   Overwhelming the student with too much
                                                                 •   Assuming the student can work through
                                                                     the problems without developing a
                                                                     network of support on campus.
                                                                 •   Discouraging the student from applying
                                                                     for reinstatement.
                                                                 •   Reaching the conclusion that the student
                                                                     will not be reinstated.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651

The student with WRITING ANXIETY

 WHAT TO DO                                                       Facts about Writing Anxiety
 •     Have a private appointment with the                        •   Anxiety may result in assignments being late
       student.                                                       or not turned in at all.
 •     Listen carefully to the student’s                          •   A history of incompletes may be a sign of
       explanation of the problem.                                    writing anxiety.
 •     Look for patterns and repetition of the                    •   Often the student is emotional when
       problem behavior.                                              discussing his/her writing.
 •     Refer the student to a writing counselor
       at the Learning Assistance Service of                      Writing anxiety can be related to:
       the Counseling Center (x47693) for
       diagnosis and remediation of the                           •   a failure to understand the assignment
       problem.                                                   •   the lack of pre-writing techniques for
 •     Refer the student to the Writing Center                        starting the assignment
       of the English Department (x53785).                        •   lack of general time management skills
 •     Refer the student who speaks about a                       •   procrastination
       learning disability to the Disability
       Support Service of the Counseling                          •   poor organization skills
       Center (x47682).                                           •   problems with grammar
 •     Refer the student to the Counseling                        •   poor grades on writing assignments
       Center (x47651) for psychological                              in the past
       counseling, if needed.                                     •   a learning disability

 •     Concluding that the student is
       only trying to obtain extra time for
       the assignment.
 •     Assuming the student can simply
       control the behavior by him/herself.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                              RESPONDING TO ACADEMIC PROBLEMS                    21

The student who needs LEARNING SKILLS

Facts about Learning Skills                                        WHAT TO DO
•   A student may not have been taught                             •   Ask the student about his/her personal
    specific learning skills prior to coming                           study time and study strategies.
    to college.                                                    •   Determine if the student understands
•   Good time management can promote                                   the course content.
    academic success.                                              •   Provide clarification of course content,
•   Paper and pencil techniques (e.g., “to do”                         if needed.
    lists, schedules, and calendars) can help                      •   Build into your class a session on how
    students analyze and organize their time.                          to study for the course at the beginning
•   Notes and text material can promote                                of the semester.
    learning (e.g., making marginal notes,                         •   Take time to review past exams to
    giving visual emphasis to material,                                analyze the student’s strengths and
    scheduling frequent reviews, etc.).                                weaknesses.
•   A student can plan effective study                             •   Make suggestions and encourage the
    strategies, based on his/her learning style.                       student to adjust learning strategies
•   Sometimes a student’s learning style                               before the next test.
    does not match the teaching style of the                       •   Ask if the student is utilizing any other
    instructor.                                                        campus resources.
•   Learning skills and strategies vary,                           •   Stress the value of group study.
    according to the specific nature and
    content of the course.                                         •   Refer the student to the Learning
                                                                       Assistance Service of the Counseling
                                                                       Center (x47693).
                                                                   •   Refer the student to the course’s
                                                                       Guided Study Sessions for support
                                                                       (if the course provides this option for
                                                                       strengthening study skills).

                                                                   •   Assuming the student does not
                                                                       understand the course material.
                                                                   •   Believing the student should know
                                                                       how to learn course content.
                                                                   •   Thinking the student knows about
                                                                       available campus resources.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651

The student with MATH ANXIETY

 WHAT TO DO                                                      Facts about Math Anxiety
 •     Let the student talk about his/her                        •   Students can experience math anxiety in any
       experiences with math: when the                               class that has quantitative activities. Math
       anxiety first began, what kind of                             anxiety can be caused by poor math teaching;
       negative reactions existed, etc.                              cultural expectations (e.g., Only men excel in
 •     Be supportive of the student and ask the                      math); not being developmentally ready for
       student about his/her goals and what math                     certain math concepts; having a math learning
       course is needed to fulfill those goals.                      disability; and the sequential nature of math.
 •     Be sure the student has the proper
       background for the present math course.                   •   Most individuals who admit to having
                                                                     math anxiety do not show symptoms of
 •     Recommend some study strategies (e.g.,                        anxiety disorders in other areas of their lives.
       note cards, time management, paper-and-                       However, a high degree of math anxiety can
       pencil techniques) to help the student                        affect a person’s inability to perform in
       begin to take control of the learning                         non- math related situations.
       process or some accommodations, such as
       extended time for an assignment.                          •   Math anxiety can be successfully addressed,
                                                                     using both psychological and learning
 •     Refer the student to the Learning                             strategies coupled with appropriate math
       Assistance Service at the Counseling                          placement.
       Center (x47693) to make an appointment
       with a math specialist.                                   Symptoms of math anxiety include :
 •     Refer the student to the Counseling
       Center (x47651) for psychological or                      •   rapid heartbeat
       educational/vocational interventions.                     •   sweaty palms
                                                                 •   feelings of inadequacy
                                                                 •   negative self-talk
 •     Minimizing the situation.                                 •   an inability to retain information in a test
 •     Expecting the anxiety to just go away.                        situation
 •     Assuming the student is just lazy and not
 •     Telling the student to put more time into
       the course without any intervention.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651
                                                              RESPONDING TO ACADEMIC PROBLEMS                 23

The student with EXAM ANXIETY

Facts about Exam Anxiety                           WHAT TO DO
                                                   •   See the student privately.
•   Some anxiety often helps a student
    perform better under pressure.                 •   Ask about the student’s exam preparation and time
    However, if students experience too                management skills. Suggest useful study strategies
    much anxiety, it can affect both                   and exam preparation techniques.
    academic and psychological well-               •   Go over the exam with the student so that the student
    being.                                             understands his/her performance and what caused
•   Test anxiety can be caused by many                 the errors.
    factors, such as the pressure to               •   Refer the student to the Learning Assistance Service
    succeed, past experiences, and/or fear             of the Counseling Center (x47693).
    of failure.                                    •   Refer students to the Disability Support Service of the
                                                       Counseling Center (x47682), if needed.
Symptoms of test anxiety can include:
                                                   •   Refer the student to the Counseling Center (x47651)
•   rapid heartbeat                                    for stress management and/or psychological
                                                       counseling, if needed.
•   sweaty palms
                                                   •   Encourage the student to form a study group for the
•   negative self-talk                                 course to provide academic and psychological support.
•   feelings of inadequacy                         •   Recommend tutoring if the student does not
•   tears                                              understand the course material. Tutoring referrals
•   inability to retain test information               may include Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education
                                                       (OMSE) (x55616), the Math Department Tutoring
The student with anxiety may not                       Center (Rm. 0301, Math Building), the Math Success
perform well on tests, although grades                 Program (x4MATH), and
on other course requirements are good.                 teaching assistants.

A student can have anxiety related to
certain types of exams. For example,               •   Minimizing the situation.
there may be a great discrepancy between           •   Assuming the student is simply trying to ask for
a student’s grades in multiple-choice and              special attention.
essay exams in the same course.
                                                   •   Thinking the student should be able to handle the
                                                       problem without support.
                                                   •   Concluding that the student must have a learning
                                                   •   Believing that if the student really understands the
                                                       material, the student should be able to perform better
                                                       on exams.

    Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651

The student who PROCRASTINATES

 WHAT TO DO                                                        Facts about Procrastination
 •     See the student privately.
                                                                   •   Procrastination is putting off something that
 •     Help the student assess time management                         is in the student’s best interests to do, or
       skills and refer the student to the Learning                    doing less important things first.
       Assistance Service of the Counseling Center
                                                                   •   Avoidance of important work can lead to
       (x47693) for skill building.
                                                                       stress, depression, shame, and guilt which,
 •     Help the student set specific and realistic                     in turn, can cause the student to avoid the
       goals. Procrastinators often cannot see the                     same tasks in the future.
       trees for the forest!
                                                                   •   While some students procrastinate because
 •     Be clear with deadlines, limits, and                            a given task is aversive, there is usually an
       consequences.                                                   emotional cause at the root of serious
 •     Identify how procrastination hurts the                          procrastination.
       student and use his/her suffering as a
       motivator for change. Procrastinators will not              Emotional causes underlying procrastination
       seek help unless they are suffering from the                may be classified into four categories:
                                                                   •   perfectionism
 •     Recognize that there are often strong
       emotions underlying procrastination, such as                •   fear of success
       guilt, fear, anger, depression, panic, and                  •   fear of failure
       shame. Chronic procrastinators may have low
                                                                   •   rebellion
       self-esteem and suffer extreme guilt.
 •     Refer the student for individual or group
       counseling at the Counseling Center (x47651)
       when the student is suffering emotionally or
       academically from her/his procrastination.
 •     Assuming that the student is lazy or stupid.
 •     Communicating in ways that increase shame
       and, thereby, decrease motivation to change.
 •     Being pushy because the student could
       respond with resentment or rebellion.
 •     Conveying disappointment or irritation if the
       student does not make quick progress. Such
       messages may lead to a stand off, which is a
       relationship pattern that procrastinators often
       have with others.

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)    x47651

The UNDECIDED Student                                                   The INDECISIVE Student
Facts about being Undecided                                             Facts about Career Indecision
•       Being undecided about a major or career                         •       Indecision refers to chronic difficulties in
        is a normal developmental process.                                      making decisions about a major or career,
•       Many students change their major one                                    and often in other areas of life.
        or two times before settling on a career                        •       Indecision is a significant impairment
        path.                                                                   in decision- making and is not a normal
•       Self-exploration and gathering                                          developmental stage.
        information about majors and careers                            •       Indecision can be related to any number
        are important steps in making a career                                  of internal and external barriers or
        decision.                                                               conflicts.
•       Difficulties and delays in making a                             •       Career anxiety is one specific problem
        career decision can lead to stress and                                  that can block decision- making and
        poor academic performance.                                              contribute to indecision.
                                                                        •       Indecision can impede a student’s
                                                                                progress through the university.
    •     Encourage exploration through
          course selection, work, volunteering,
                                                                            WHAT TO DO
          extracurricular activities, and
          counseling.                                                       •    Be supportive and understanding.
    •     Normalize the developmental                                       •    Point out the self-defeating patterns
          process for the student.                                               or symptoms.
    •     Refer the student to the Counseling                               •    Refer the student to the
          Center (x47651) for interest testing                                   Counseling Center (x47651)
          or career counseling.                                                  for career counseling.
    •     Refer the student to the Career
          Center (x47225) for occupational
          information, internships, and vivid
          information about the “world of

        Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)       x47651


                                     COUNSELING CENTER
           Counseling Service                                                                 x47651
                Psychological & Career Counseling
                Faculty/Staff Warmline
                       (A phone consultation service for faculty, staff, and parents)
           Disability Support Service                                                         x47682
           Learning Assistance Service                                                        x47693
                Academic Skills Counseling
                Returning Students Program
           University Parent Consultation & Child Evaluation                                  x47673

                               OTHER CAMPUS RESOURCES
         Campus Police (
              Emergency                                                                           911
              Non-emergency                                                                    x53555

         Career Center (                                              x47225

         Family Service Center (                                      x52273

         Financial Aid (                                              x49000

         Fire Emergency                                                                            911

         Health Center (                                                    x48180

         Legal Aid (                                    x47756

         Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity (                     x58720

         Mental Health Service (Health Center)                                                 x48106

         Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education (OMSE)                                       x55616

     Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651

         Name                                    Phone                           E-mail/Web

Need Help? Contact the University Counseling Center (Shoemaker Bldg.)   x47651
                 HELPING STUDENTS
                    IN DISTRESS


      Abusive Dating Relationships    Hate Incidents

      Academic Dismissal              Hazing

      Aggression/Potential Violence   Lack of Learning Skills

      Anxiety                         Math Anxiety

      Being Demanding                 Procrastination

      Career Concerns                 Severe Disorientation/Psychosis

      Depression                      Sexual Assault

      Disabilities                    Stalking

      Eating Disorders                Substance Abuse

      Exam Anxiety                    Suicidal Thoughts

      Failing School                  Writing Anxiety

Counseling Center
Shoemaker Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-8111

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