Helping Students

How do I identify students who may benefit from the Kean Counseling Center?

During the course of the academic year, students may become overwhelmed by stress. Some reasons may be:

  • Being away from home
  • Academic stress
  • Financial concerns
  • Peer or relational difficulties
Often these issues can be resolved by the student and no outside intervention is required. In some instances however, these stressors left unattended may contribute to emotional, physical and/or academic difficulties. The following are some indicators that a student is in distress:
  • Grades change from consistently good to poor
  • Pattern of requesting deadline extensions
  • Excessive absences, especially when the student has a previous record of good attendance
  • Unusual or marked changes in behavior.  Student appears anxious, distracted, argumentative or emotional
  • Depression, lethargy, poor hygiene, sudden weight change, sleeping all day, inability to sleep or sleeping in class
  • Dramatic increase in memory problems
  • Increased alcohol or other drug use
  • Sadness, hopelessness, lowered self esteem
  • Loss of contact with reality
  • Threatened or actual violence, hostility or aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts, threats or actions

    Tips For Helping Troubled Students

    If you choose to try and help a distressed student, or if a student approached you to talk about personal problems, here are some helpful suggestions:

    • Time - Arrange to talk to the student at a time when you both can focus in a private setting. Even a few minutes of your undivided attention can provide encouragement. You may be able to provide some direction for the student that will enable him/her to resolve the problem or seek appropriate professional help.
    • Listen - Listen to the student and try to ascertain both thoughts and feelings about the problem. Reflect or repeat the essence of the student’s message, trying to include both content and feeling, (e.g., “It sounds like you are feeling pretty overwhelmed by the pressures your parents are placing on you to make good grades”.) If you have asked the student to come and speak to you, approach the issue in clear behavioral terms without assumptions or accusations (e.g., “I’ve noticed that you’ve been falling asleep in class lately, and I’m concerned”) by expressing the concern in a clear and non-judgmental way, you encourage the student to speak more freely.
    • Help - Help the student to become aware of possible alternative solutions. Have the student discuss the pros and cons of each option. Refrain from making unsolicited assessments of the student’s behavior or propose solutions. It is important to remember that a student’s beliefs or values may be different from yours. What works for you may not necessarily work for everyone. You can not make the decision for the student no matter how well intentioned you are. Be aware of your own limitations. If a problem is more serious than you are comfortable with, please refer the student to a mental health professional
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