This learning module contains the following sections:

  1. Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress

Learning Objectives

Identify signs that may indicate a mental health problem


Identify situations that require immediate referral or reporting


Discuss your concerns appropriately if you notice signs that suggest a student is in distress


Refer students to appropriate resources


Slide

Resources

 

Based on content developed by:

 

Dr. Mike Condra, Registered Psychologist.

 

Director of Health Counselling and Disability Services,

 

Queens University.

 

Slide

The 3 R's

 

Recognize - Be alert and aware of signs of distress.

 

Respond - Speak directly with the student or contact an appropriate service provider to express your concern. If students are exhibiting signs of risk to their safety or the safety of others, report this immediately.

 

Refer - Offer the student information about available resources. Help them connect with student services if they desire.

 

Slide

Behaviour

 

The key to understanding mental health problems:

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

What You May See

 

  • Significant changes in behaviour

e.g. From cheerful to despondent or preoccupied

 

  • Noticeable deterioration in academic/work performance

e.g. increased class/tutorial absence, deterioration in quality of work

 

  • Increasing emotionality (difficult with emotional control)

e.g. irritablility, crying, angry outbursts

 

  • Marked changes in personal hygiene/dress

Significant changes in behaviour

 

e.g. From cheerful to despondent or preoccupied

Noticeable deterioration in academic/work performance

 

e.g. increased class/tutorial absence, deterioration in quality of work

Difficulty concentrating, carrying on a conversation

 

Acting out of character, differently than usual

 

Talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide

 

Feeling out of control of one's emotions, thoughts, or behaviours

 

Increased emotionality

 

e.g. irritablility, crying, angry outbursts

Excessive dependence on others for company or support

 

 

Slide

The Mental Health Continuum

 

This is a continuum model of mental health that was created by the Department of National Defense. It appears in their handbook Road to Mental Readiness.

HEALTHY

MILD DISRUPTION

MODERATE DISRUPTION

SEVERE DISRUPTION

Normal functioningCommon and reversible distressSignificant functional impairmentClinical disorder: severe and persistant functional impairment

For example, a mentally healthy student may enter into mild disruption prior to exams and then return to their mentally healthy state when the stressful exam period is over.

 

Slide

What You Might See

 

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

Resources to Sustain Our Health

 

Most people who are healthy or experiencing mild disruption will not need professional care for their mental health. While some people with mental illness are able to cope without professional assistance, those who are experiencing moderate or severe disruption are more likely to require professional care.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

Emergency Situations

 

The previous slides have outlined signs that a student may be in distress. Some situations require immediate referral and reporting. These situations include:

 

  • Any direct or indirect reference to wanting to die/suicide.

 

  • Threats or disruptive behaviour:
Physical violence causing bodily harm (self-harm or other) Specific threats of violence or harm

 

  • Behaviours of concern:
Student is: incoherent or unintelligible; cannot be calmed

 

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse or Misuse:
Potential drug overdose Potential alcohol poisoning

 

Slide

Respond & Refer

 

Possible signs of distress should not be ignored. When you recognize signs of distress and the situation does not require immediate referral and reporting, you may choose to approach the student yourself rather than immediately reporting the situation. Many people are concerned about what to do or say to someone in distress. The ALSR method is recommended.

1. Approach

2. Listen

  • Reach out, make contact
  • Talk to them when you have time
  • Attentively
  • Non-judgemental

3. Support

4. Refer

  • Give reassurance and comfort
  • Give advice only when asked, prepare to have it ignored
  • Help them find resources
  • Encourage them to use resources
 

Slide

Approach?

 

Some people worry that if they approach a person who may be in distress, they might say the wrong thing.

 

Consider these statements and whether they are appropriate or in need of improvement.

 

  • Hi Alex, you look down; do you have depression?
  •  

  • I’ve noticed you’re very quiet; is everything okay?
  •  

  • Anne, you haven’t come to any staff parties this year; that could be social phobia you know.
  •  

  • I see you’re not eating; are you feeling okay?
  •  

  • Hi Jill, I notice you haven’t eaten much; do you have anorexia?
  •  

  • Hey, you seem out of sorts these days. Are things okay?
  •  

  • Hey Mike, you didn’t say much in today’s class; pull up your socks, buddy.

 

Slide

ALSR #1: Approach

 

The most important things to remember are to be respectful and to show genuine concern for the person's wellbeing.

 

Be specific about the behaviour that worries you. Avoid labeling or attempting to determine why the person is behaving the way they are. Ask open-ended questions that deal directly with the issue without judging.

 

Slide

ALSR #1: Approach (Cont'd)

 

Here are some questions that you could ask.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

ALSR #2: Listen

 

Be sure to let the student know you are listening.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

ALSR #3: Support

 

Show the student that you are willing to help.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

ALSR #4: Refer

 

Refer the student to resources that are available.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

Slide

Question

ALSR stands for

Analyze, Listen, Seperate, Remonstrate
Approach. Lean, Scream, Run
Approach, Listen, Support, Refer
Appreciate, Learn, Support, Reiterate

 

Slide

Some tips for the conversation

  • Say what you see
  • Be patient
  • Trust yourself
  • Keep the door open
  • Be prepared to have your advice ignored (politely)

An Open Door.
 

Slide

Self-Care Skills

 

  • Draw on other trusted people to help support you
  • Set limits for yourself
  • Don't hold yourself responsible for the struggles others may have
  • Respect yourself
  • Find ways to reduce immediate stress (exercise, relaxation techniques, sleep)
  • Laugh

Two friends share a laugh.
 

Slide

Resources for More Information

 

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

www.camh.net

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is an addiction and mental health teaching hospital in Toronto. Under "About Addiction and Mental Health", there is concise information about addictions and many specific mental health issues.

Canadian Mental Health Association

www.cmha.ca

The Canadian Mental Health Association is a nationwide charitable mental health organization. Its website has a variety of information on mental health and mental illness, including information on the connection between mental and physical health, social determinants of mental health, stigma, and specific mental disorders.

Here to Help

www.heretohelp.bc.ca

Here2Help is a website of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. It includes stories of personal journeys with mental illness, information sheets on many mental health topics, and self-help resources.

Good2Talk

www.good2talk.ca

Offers free, professional and anonymous support for post-secondary students in Ontario. Call 1-866-925-5454.

Mental Health Helpline

www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca

Anyone can call this line. Service is offered by information and referral specialists who can listen, support and offer information about services in your community (within Ontario). Service is available in 170 languages. Call 1-866-531-2600.

*The experience of this slide may differ from the Flash version of this learning module.

 

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