Resources Available for Supporting Distressed Students

Here’s a link to a video presentation that Karla Vermeulen and Amy Nitza of New Paltz’s Institute of Disaster Mental Health recently delivered:

Here’s the link to the SUNY COVID-19 crisis support & resources website, including emotional support hotline and live sessions.

SUNY-wide blog: Coming together in Crisis

One resource for thinking about grief right now:

SUNY Oneonta invites students to write about their COVID experiences:

Psst! Hey, you!


1. Signs of crisis

A student may come to you in tears or you might notice poor coursework, repeated absence from class, a look of exhaustion, disheveled clothing, apathetic attitude, disruptive displays of anger or sadness, etc. It’s appropriate to ask, “I notice you haven’t been handing in your homework. I am concerned. Is something wrong?”  Or to reflect back, “I see that you are very upset. I would like to help you.”

2. When a student is in crisis

De-escalate when possible by reflecting back what you hear the student saying and asking student to assess the situation as clearly as possible.

Gauge the degree of distress.

If the situation seems extreme, consider using the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) technique to check for risk of self-harm, harm to others, or suicidal intention.

If the student is in severe crisis, contact the Psychological Counseling Center (x 2920) or the University Police (x 2222) and request immediate help.  Do this with the student in the room so they understand the degree of concern and they are not surprised.  After 5:00 p.m. the University Police can connect the student with an on-call PCC counselor, 24/7, even during the present COVID-19 situation.

If the student is at risk of self-harm or harm to others, you should also immediately inform Dean of Students Robin Cohen-La Valle (x 3261) or University Police (x 2222).  Even if the situation does not seem life-threatening, do not hesitate to fill out a “Student Behavior of Concern – Incident Reporting Form” on  This includes serious academic concerns tied to an inability to complete required coursework with or without a Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodation or a doctor’s note.  These would be concerns that go beyond typical student flakiness or lack of academic preparedness.  For those challenges, contact the Center for Student Success for guidance.

Unless there is a risk of self-harm or harm-to-others, the student maintains control of their story and will not be asked to act or press charges unless they choose to do so (e.g. a case of sexual assault).

3.  A student of concern

If the student is not at immediate risk, it is still wise to steer them towards the Psychological Counseling Center for an individual appointment (that may take 2-3 weeks to schedule) or a group session.  Peer support resources, Oasis / Haven, may seem more appealing to your student.  There are many such services available listed on the PCC website and the Faculty Development Center website.  Promoting group sessions alleviates some of the caseload pressure on the PCC staff and helps students feel more connected to their peers.

It is reasonable to discuss with a student whether it is appropriate for them to be taking your class if they are not able to attend regularly or complete the required work. It may be time for a medical withdrawal from your class or the college until they can function adequately.  Contact Dean Robin Cohen-La Valle with questions (x3261) or (

Reporting and Resources: Student of Concern

Psychological Counseling Center, x 2920, Director Gweneth Lloyd (after 5:00 p.m. call University Police)

University Police Department, x2222, Anonymous tip line, x2230, emergency, 911

Title IX/ LGBTQ information and reporting, Emma Morcone, x3184

Residence Life, Corinna Caracci, x 4444

Oasis / Haven, Deyo Hall G 13c, peer counseling, x 4945

Dean of Students, Robin Cohen-La Valle, x3261 (

Referrals/reporting: / student behavior of concern – incident reporting form (including disruptive behavior, severe anxiety & depression, threat of self-harm or harm to others)

Disability Resource Center Tel. x3020;, Director, Jean Vizvary

Psychological Counseling Center – Group Sessions for Students

Contact the Psychological Counseling Center for info or to register (845-257-2920)

Let’s Talk, Wednesdays,  (drop in without appointment)

All of Me support group for students who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum with Lauren Spencer, LCSW, Wednesdays, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

#SkillstoChill sessions on stress and anxiety management, with Sarah Burrows, LMHC, Thursdays, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

P.A.T.H. Preventing Anxiety Through Health and Healing) with Joel Oppenheimer, LCSW, spring dates TBD

Wise Mind, a dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) informed skill-based group designed to help you feel more in control and prepared when a wave of emotion hits. With Meaghan Shea, LSCW-R & Nathaniel Pickering, MHC intern, Tuesdays 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

SSWAG, Strong Successful Women Achieving Greatness with Candy Davies, LCSW-R, Wednesdays, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Positive Masculinity Workshops, facilitated by Joel Oppenheimer, LCSW

Instagram: @newpaltzpcc

From The New York Times:
How to Give People Advice They’ll Be Delighted to Take
Evaluate, collaborate and support.

PCC Group Flyer Fall 2019 final