Published: March 28, 2019

Between preparing for finals, planning to move residences and figuring out job or internship plans for the summer, many students may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed this month. While students may experience various levels of stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns throughout the year, you may notice behavior that is more concerning as stress levels reach an all-time high.

Below are some examples to help you recognize the signs of mental health concerns and tips for how you can help.

Shadow of student walking byRecognizing signs of mental health concerns

Being able to recognize significant changes in behavior or appearance is the first step to supporting students who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. Examples of concerning behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in academic performance, class attendance or quality of schoolwork
  • Appearing fearful, anxious, nervous or angry
  • Appearing exhausted or noticeably different in appearance
  • Expressing internalized negative feelings of oneself
  • Showing signs of self-harm (cuts, scratches, etc.)

How you can help

Whenever possible, talk with the student in private. During the conversation, here are some things you can do to help and things to avoid:

  • Show care and concern for the student and base the conversation on what you have observed.
  • Treat the situation as serious and avoid passing judgement. Do not speak to the student in a derogatory manner or lecture the student.
  • Give examples of behaviors the student has exhibited that worry you.
  • Be supportive and encourage the student to receive help.
  • Offer options and flexibility if you can.
  • Do not tell the student what to do—it is best to provide options and choices.
  • Do not take on the responsibility of caring for the student.
  • Reach out to Student Support and Case Management (SSCM). SSCM can consult with you in regards to options for your student, and is a great resource to help faculty and staff determine how to best manage difficult situations and support students. For more resources, visit the Health and Wellness Services website.
  • Responsible employees who become aware of sexual misconduct, discrimination or harassment involving any member of the CU community must report it to the OIEC. Do not agree to be bound by the promise of confidentiality.
  • Take all statements seriously regarding self-harm or harming others. If you think there is an imminent risk of harm to the student or others, call 911.

Learn more at the Health and Wellness Summit

The Health and Wellness Summit on April 25 will be a one-stop shop for faculty, staff and students to learn about holistic health and wellness strategies, programs, resources and support available at CU Boulder.

The summit is free and attendees will be able to leave with skills and tips that they can apply immediately to their everyday routines. There will be sessions on a variety of topics including supporting student resiliency, campus resources, stress management and self-care, nutrition, emotional wellness, technology and more.

Learn more and register for the Health and Wellness Summit.