Chronic Stress Intervention Strategies
- Universities and colleges deploy a number of intervention strategies to
help prevent and aid in the reduction of chronic stress within the student
populations which they serve.
- The most important primary intervention for universities/colleges is the
counseling services department. This type of intervention is also known as
a tertiary preventive intervention.
- Training plays a vital role in the intervention process. It introduces
counseling personnel to both students and staff. The referral process begins
with appropriately trained student support staff.
- Secondary preventative interventions include: Counseling workshops (Stress
Management, Time Management, and Relationship Skills.), Health education
workshops (Emotional wellness, physical wellness, etc.), Academic success
workshops, De-Stress Activities during Final exam time periods.
- Utilize student-lead peer organizations. Students can present relevant
information to their peers.
- Post up-to-date information on the web. Include anonymous screenings for
common issues, alcohol-education sites, listings of peer organizations and
other mental health groups and counselors, and any other campus health/wellness
- Emergency Situation (imminent threat of harm):
- Call 911 or University Police
- Stay with the student
- Notify the Dean of Students and Counseling Services
- Contact Counseling Services immediately and follow-up with the Dean of
- Contact Counseling Services for guidance and referral strategies and
follow-up with the Dean of Students if you observe the following behaviors:
Erratic behavior, excess sleep or not enough sleep, evidence of an eating
disorder, depression, drug use including alcohol.
- It is important to determine what resources are available to you when you
refer a student. Most counseling services departments offer free, confidential
counseling appointments with licensed staffers.
How to refer
- Build rapport with a student. Utilize attending skills and listen to what
they have to say. Give the student your complete attention.
- Determine the seriousness of the issue.
- Refer the student —
- See if the student will choose to self-refer
- Re-summarize the issue
- Raise the issue of seeking outside help
- Assess the reaction to the suggestion
- See if the student chooses an appropriate response
- If student is unaware of resources, indicate appropriate support options
- Focus on the positive aspects of seeking help
- Talk about relevant procedures and allow student to contact support using
- Share relevant information with counseling personnel after securing permission
from the student
- Follow-up with the student to see if they kept their appointment
- Finally, respect the student. In a non-emergency situation, it is the
student’s choice to receive support
- Counseling Services
- Student Health Services
- Career Services
- Dean of Students
- Academic Success Center
A guide for smu faculty and staff: identifying and referring the distressed student. (n.d.). Retrieved Feb. 22, 2005, from Stress and College Students – Counseling and Testing – SMU Web site: http://www.smu.edu/healthcenter/counseling/ct_stress.asp
Gottlieb, B. (Ed.). (1997). Coping with chronic stress. New York: Plenum Press.
Kadison, R. (2004). The mental-health crisis: what colleges must do. Retrieved Feb. 22, 2005 , from The Chronicle Web site: http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v51/i16/16b02001.htm