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How to Support a Student in Distress

For a student in immediate danger

If a student is in a life threatening physical or mental health emergency or immediate danger, and intervention needs to occur very quickly, please contact emergency services: 

Within Education City

Outside Education City:

After emergency services are contacted please alert CHW at 4454 5073 or 5503-2187; or the Director of Student Affairs office at 4454 5084.

How to refer a student

There are several ways to make a referral to Counseling, Health, and Wellness if you are concerned about a student:

  1. Encourage the student to visit CHW. Students may walk in between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sundays and Mondays, and 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Thursdays.
  2. Invite the student to accompany you to CHW. Often students will agree to come to CHW in the company of a friend or mentor when they would otherwise be reluctant to come by themselves.
  3. If appropriate, have the student call from your phone and speak with a CHW counselor. The counselor may invite the student to stop by CHW the same day.

Signs of Distress

Certain events in a person’s life can trigger a crisis. What may seem of minor importance to one person can be extremely distressing to another.

The person has experienced a crisis event.

The kinds of events that may trigger a crisis in the life of a college student might include:

The person is acting differently than they normally do.

Below is a listing of possible behavioral changes you may see in a student who is in distress:

Academic behaviors:

Interpersonal behaviors:

Physical Changes

If you become concerned about a student and would like to consult with a CHW counselor, please email patricia.collins@northwestern.edu or call 4454 5073. Counseling, Health and Wellness staff are available to offer consultation to anyone concerned about a member of the university community.

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