U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

College students at the University of Michigan may experience a great deal of stress during the course of their academic experience. As faculty members, teaching assistants, or staff members particularly involved with student services, you may encounter distressed students. Your role can be a positive and crucial one in identifying students who are in distress and assisting them to find the resources available to help themselves.

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What to Do in an Urgent Situation With a Student

Sometimes an urgent situation involving a student might arise in your classroom, office, in your department lounge area, or when a student raises thoughts in writing that raise your level of concern.




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Concerns About Student's Writing

Recent events at universities around the country have made faculty, staff and students more aware of college student mental health, including issues involving student suicides and violence. Although these tragic occurrences are relatively uncommon, the heightened awareness of those few events has led many members of university communities to ask what they can do to help ensure the safety of everyone on campus. Unfortunately, there is no way to be 100% sure whether individual students have the potential to act violently toward themselves or others.  These judgments are difficult and depend on many factors, and all such situations must be handled sensitively.  Still, faculty members and GSIs can act in such a way that the rights of everyone involved are respected and supported.



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Consultation Services

CAPS offers opportunities for staff and faculty members to consult with a CAPS staff member about any concerns about students or other issues that may arise.

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Question, Persuade, Refer

Gain tools to help a student in distress through QPR training. In order to strengthen U-M’s “community of caring,” CAPS researched systematic, college-appropriate programs focused on suicide prevention and chose to proceed with QPR, a community-based, nationally-recognized and empirically-based suicide prevention program. QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer.

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Helping a Student in Distress

Students dealing with personal concerns and in distress typically show some outward signs that they are struggling in some way.  All of us experience life’s “ups and down,” but significant distress experienced over a period of time may suggest a more serious problem.   There are different levels of distress and these can be represented through a continuum.

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Quick Tips for Reaching Out to a Student

If a student reaches out to you for help or you have decided to approach a student you are concerned about, here are some suggestions that might be useful as you meet with that student.

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Liaison Program

The purpose of the liaison program is to personally connect with units across campus, serve as consultants and referral sources to individuals who are seeking advice regarding a student in need of CAPS services, and to regularly share general information about CAPS.

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