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Helping Students in Distress

What to do:
Reaching out to a student and letting them know you are genuinely concerned about them will have a profound effect on the student.  Acknowledge to the student that you notice they are struggling and that their behaviors have changes.  Let them know you are willing to look at options that could help them, which may include contacting the CARE Team.

Observe - A first important step in assisting a student is to be familiar with the symptoms of distress. Pay close attention to direct communications, as well as implied or hidden feelings. Focus on the observable symptoms and how they are impacting the student's life. 

Initiate Contact - Don't ignore strange, inappropriate or unusual behavior(s).  Talk to the student in question privately, in a direct and matter-of-fact manner, indicating your observations and concerns.  Be sure to focus on the symptoms that were displayed and express your concern about how they are impacting the student.  Early feedback, intervention and/or referral can prevent more serious problems from developing.

Offer Support Assistance - Your interest, attentive listening and concern may be pivotal in helping a troubled student.  Avoid criticisms or sounding judgmental.  Allow the student time to respond and acknowledge that their perception may be different.  Summarize the essence of what the individual has told you as a way of clarifying the situation.  Validate feelings while also encouraging positive action by helping the student to define the problems and generate coping strategies.

Refer - Know your limits as a helper and only go as far as your expertise and resources allow.  When a student needs more help than you are able or willing to give, a referral is appropriate.  You may refer to the CARE Team, Dean of Students Office, the University Health & Counseling Service, the Center for Students with Disabilities or other campus offices. 

How to report a concern about a student:

  1. Fill out the CARE Team Reporting form.  Reports can be filled out anonymously.
  2. Call 262-472-1533 to speak with the CARE Team Case Manager or the Dean of Students
  3. E-mail

        *  Please note this is NOT an emergency reporting system.  An reports filed may not be accessed for 24 hours or more.            

If you feel your personal safety is threatened or are aware of an immediate campus safety issue do not use the reporting methods highlight above.  Call 911.


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Fax: (262) 472-1275

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