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Gordie Center

for Substance Abuse Prevention

Guide to Assisting Students

Assisting students in distress imageFor many students at the University, personal and academic pursuits provide healthy experiences with positive results.  However, for some, this time produces high levels of psychological distress and/or risky behaviors such as hazardous drinking or drug use.  As a faculty member or teaching assistant (TA), your on-going relationship with students allows you to detect changes in an individual’s behavior that may signal a more serious problem.

You can play a unique role in assisting students through a difficult situation or experience. Students appreciate faculty and TA opinions and you can serve as a reliable source of information about the resources already in place at UVa.  Faculty and TAs are not expected to diagnose the source of distress or take on the role of counselor.  The steps below can help you identify students in need of assistance and provide appropriate referral.  

As of July 1, 2015, Virginia state law requires faculty and staff to notify Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) when a student exhibits suicidal tendencies or behavior.  If you have any concerns that a student may be suicidal, notify CAPS immediately.

View and print the Guide to Assisting Students brochure (pdf)