RMC Resource Guide
What should you do when a student needs help regarding anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol use, or someone to confide? What if you are concerned about a risk of suicide?
RMC has a variety of on-campus services to help students with problems and questions that arise during their time here. This guide has important tips on dealing with students in distress and contains a list of important phone numbers for campus and local organizations that can provide assistance.
For Professors, Instructors, Mentors, and Staff
Your role as an instructor or support person establishes you as someone who cares about and contributes to the success of college students. The Student Services and Counselor share this goal. At times, students may ask you to address issues extending beyond academic concern, including violence, depression, and suicide risk.
This guide contains tips on how to know if a student needs help. Our campus has a variety of departments that work directly with students regarding these types of problems, and this resource is intended to assist you and your students with access to resources. The RMC community shares in the goal of helping students succeed in college and beyond. For questions about the information and organization in this guide feel free to call RMC Counseling Services at 406.657.1049.
How to Know If a Student Needs Help
Regardless of the reason a student seeks your help (depression, anxiety, alcohol use, sexual assault, or other problems), it is important to let the student know privately that you’re concerned about his or her physical and emotional health as well as academic progress. Symptoms to be aware of that you may observe are:
- Sporadic attendance or comes to class late
- Makes excuses for poor performance, asks for extensions
- Turns in work late or not at all
- Dramatic drop in academic performance
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Drastic and/or sudden changes in mood
Clinical Depression Among College Students
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" moods
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, including work or social activities
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia, early morning waking, oversleeping)
- Appetite and weight changes (gain or loss)
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, remembering
- Excessive crying
Steps You Can Take
- Recognize the symptoms
- Convince the depressed person to get treatment
- Call for help immediately if person is suicidal, having hallucinations, delusions, or is a danger to him or herself
- Don’t give up too soon - stress to the person that he/she deserves to feel better and can, with proper treatment
- Call RMC Counseling Services 406.657.1049
Warning Signs for Suicide
- Change in personality, behavior or habits
- Loss of interest in friends, hobbies & activities (stays in residence hall room for extensive periods of time)
- Fear of losing control, going crazy, harming himself/herself or others
- Constant worrying about money or illness (real or imagined)
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Suicidal impulses, statements, plans (giving away favorite things, previous suicide attempts)
- Saying goodbye to friends for no "real" reason
- Suddenly feeling better after a period of being depressed or upset (may have made up mind to follow through with act)
Steps You Can Take If Student Is Threatening Suicide
- Ask the person, "Do you feel so bad you think of suicide?" There is no danger of "giving someone the idea," in fact, it can be a great relief to talk clearly about fears.
- Take the answer seriously. If yes, ask "Have you thought about how you would do it? Do you have the means? Have you decided when you would do it? Have you ever tried suicide before? What happened?"
- If yes to any of the above questions, get professional help immediately. Never allow yourself to be alone with the responsibility of someone taking his or her own life.
- Call the RMC Counseling Services at 406.657.1049 or 911 for immediate intervention. Request police assistance for a welfare check based on concern for an individual's safety on or off campus.
Sexual Assault & Relational Violence
Possible Indicators of Sexual Assault:
- Experiences depression, suicidal thoughts, or unexpected anger
- Decrease in eye contact or conversation
- Seeking you out, but not really explaining what is going on
- Experiences fatigue, decease in self-esteem
- Physical symptoms: visible injuries, sudden weight loss or gain, headaches, stomach or intestinal problems.
Possible indicators of Emotional Abuse:
- Unjust and continual accusations made by partner with no basis in reality (having an affair, flirting with someone) shows extreme jealous behavior
Steps You Can Take:
If a person tells you they or someone has been sexually assaulted or abused, let them know there is help available. Be supportive and let the other person tell you what would help and ask what would help.
- Listen to the student, but don’t attempt to be a counselor, unless you are one. Support the student & encourage him or her to seek the help of trained people (medical, legal, or counseling assistance).
- Let the student know the limits of your confidentiality. Tell him or her who you are required to inform according to the college policy.
- You may need to reschedule exams, papers or projects, or offer to give an incomplete for the class.
- Find someone you can talk to about how this experience has impacted you (being careful about the person’s right to privacy and confidentiality).
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Possible indicators of alcohol or other drug problems are:
- Coming to class with a hangover or when high
- Apathetic attitude – extreme boredom or negativism
- Brags about use, talks frequently about using
- Loss of motivation or energy
- Loss of memory when using (blacks out) or passes out
- Experiences frequent health problems (e.g., illness, injury, absences)
Steps You Can Take
- Realize ignoring the student's self-defeating behavior is not helpful
- Don’t enable students' drinking behaviors in your classroom
- Talk about what you see the student doing as if you were holding up a mirror to the student, allowing him or her to see what you see, “I noticed you have been missing classes and look tired…"
- Do not delay a discussion with a student who you are concerned about – ask for support from Counseling Services on how to go about talking with student.