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Responding to Students in Emotional Distress

What you need to know

College is a time of growth and change; students encounter many firsts as they shed familiar supports and assume greater responsibilities. While most students can manage the demands of college life effectively, for some the challenges prove overwhelming and can impair their social, emotional and academic functioning. While faculty members are often willing to assist a student in emotional distress, they often question whether the situation warrants intervention and the manner in which to approach the student. This guide is designed to help faculty recognize these students and respond effectively. Faculty members are also encouraged to consult the professional staff listed within this guide.

About Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS):

Professional staff at Fordham’s Counseling Center (CPS) are available to assist you with student mental health concerns. CPS staff can offer guidance on a range of issues including how to approach a student in emotional distress, how to engage a resistant student and how to recognize when a student needs immediate help. 

To speak with a CPS staff psychologist, just call CPS at (718) 817-3725 at Rose Hill or Westchester or (212) 636-6225 at Lincoln Center. If the matter is urgent, let the staff member know that you need to speak with a staff psychologist immediately. You may also visit the CPS homepage at www.fordham.edu/counseling, where you will find more information about CPS services and other mental health resources such as anonymous screens for depression, anxiety and substance abuse. The following warning signs may reflect psychological distress. The situation may be serious when academic or social functioning is affected.