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Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Assessment and Prevention Services Resources

For Faculty & Staff

Students adjusting to the college experience and life away from family may experience a level of stress that exceeds their coping skills. Some turn to alcohol and other substances hoping to ease this stress. For students involved with substance use, seeking help and developing strong support networks is an essential step. Faculty and staff can assist students by providing referrals and encouragement while students seek treatment.

Signs that indicate a student is in distress

General indicators that a student may be involved with substances are listed here for reference.

Academic Indicators:

  • Deterioration in quality of work
  • A drop in grades
  • A negative change in classroom performance
  • Missed assignments
  • Repeated absences from class
  • Disorganized or erratic performance
  • Continual seeking of special accommodations (late papers, extensions, postponed examination)
  • Essays or creative work portraying extremes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage, or despair.
  • Direct statements indicating distress or other difficulties
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Exaggerated personality traits (more withdrawn or more animated than usual)
  • Excessive dependency
  • Expression of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Expression of concern about a student by his/her peers
  • A hunch or gut-level reaction that something is wrong

Physical Indicators:

  • Deterioration or lack of care in physical appearance
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Visible changes in weight
  • Indications of substance abuse or chemical dependency
  • Safety Risk Indicators
  • Any written note or verbal statement which has a sense of finality or suicidal ideations
  • Essays or papers which focus on hopelessness, helplessness, despair, suicide, or death
  • Severe depression
  • Self-destructive or self-injurious behaviors
  • Any other behavior which seems out of control or extreme

How faculty can help

You may call the Counseling Center at 509-335-4511 for a consultation about the student. The staff will be glad to talk with you about any worries or concerns you may have.You can discuss your concerns with the student and listen for the reponse. Talking about a problem or labeling a crisis does not make it worse. It is the first step toward seeking help.

You may also call the Office of the Dean of Students at 509-335-5757 to make them aware of your concern.

The AWARE Network is a resource for faculty, TAs, and other who are concerned about a student’s well-being, behavior, or health. If you are worried about a student’s academic performance, or behavior in or out of class, you may send an AWARE Network report at

Issues to consider

It is acceptable to stay “in role” as a faculty/staff member. Refer the students to the resources that are in place to help.

Remember, if you encounter a student who is using substances, it is ultimately up to them to decide how to seek help. Being supportive and suggesting options will empower the student by allowing them to regain control over their life.

Counseling Services can provide consultations, technical training, curriculum ideas, and special presentations on issues that affect student well-being. Please contact us for help.