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Office of the Dean of Students

Guide to Helping Students in Distress

Faculty and staff are often able to recognize when a student is struggling, but it can be hard to know what to say or do. You can reference this guide when you’re concerned about a student. Each WSU location has a guide with specific campus and community resources.

Campus Specific Resources

Everett
Global
Pullman
Spokane
Tri-Cities
Vancouver
Yakima

Additional Crisis Support Services

Call 911 in any emergency situation or if a student poses an immediate threat to self or others.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1 for veteran's services. 

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741

WSU Employee Assistance Program
1-877-313-4455

Student Care Network

The Student Care Network allows you to share concerns about a student’s well-being, behavior, or academic performance with colleagues who can help. After submitting a report, the Office of the Dean of Students will contact you to gather additional information, talk about the situation, and identify next steps. The goal is to determine the best way to connect the student with resources that support their success without causing additional stress. Visit https://studentcare.wsu.edu/ for more information.

Tips for responding with compassion

Listen sensitively and carefully. Vulnerable students need you to listen and help. Ask directly how they are doing or if they have thoughts of harming themselves or others.

Trust your gut. If you are concerned about a student, talk to your department chair, supervisor, or the Office of the Dean of Students.

Connect with campus resources. We have other professionals and campus resources dedicated to helping you and students. You can start with the Student Care Network or any of the other resources listed in this guide. Your firsthand knowledge and personal connection to this student is valuable in supporting them.

Take care. Helping a distressed student can take a toll on you. Please think of your own well-being and seek support if needed.

Stay safe. Safety is always our top priority. Call 911 if a student poses an immediate threat to self or others.

Share what you know. State and federal laws and University policies mandate reporting in some situations. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows faculty and staff to report student health and safety concerns to relevant campus offices trained to handle situations with sensitivity and care. Taking appropriate action does not violate a student’s privacy. In some instances, employees have an obligation to report behavior. Visit crci.wsu.edu for more information on reporting requirements.