Faculty Mentoring Seminar 2007 - Part 12

Uploaded by facdevEIU on 25.04.2011

Not just Eastern.
I would love to say that it was only Eastern because I would be
packing my bags and going somewhere else, honestly.
But it's not.
We actually for suicides, we've been under the national norm
but if you've experienced a college student suicide,
one is too many.
It's just very, very difficult.
So, last year we did have one suicide.
Prior to that, it would be three years that we didn't have any
which is pretty much unheard of on a campus our size.
So I think, we try a lot of prevention which I want to give
us kudos but I think part of it is just luck too.
It just happens to be that way.
So it kind of gives you an overall view that we have some
really serious folks that we do see.
We have a lot of students that come to campus who are
schizophrenic but they're very well-managed.
Before, a lot of these students just didn't go to college.
They were students who just couldn't make it but due to
medication, good treatment, things like that, we have a lot
of students.
Believe it or not, we have ones that can manage really well
even when they become psychotic like I'll give you an example
of where we've dealt with faculty.
We had a student who felt like they found a cure for a disease
in a very, very weird way.
In some feces in an animal.
Everything that they did for their writing was on that.
It didn't matter what class it was, so it freaked people
out at first.
So we met with him and we said, well you know, you're freaking
people out.
Would you like to stay in school because you have to write
to the assignment you know.
So put all of that--and he had just journals and journals
of writings on that.
That is part of the nature of the mental illness.
We said you've got to put it aside if you want to stay
in school.
And you know what he did for three years, put it aside
and he graduated from here just this past May.
So it's amazing.
There is things that we do that we work with.
We have all levels of students.
A lot of Asperger's, the level of autism, which Einstein had
Asperger's from what they could determine.
Those students are very, very, fun.
They are incredibly bright students, but they're going
to be your weird ones in class.
They are going to say weird stuff, they might dress
a little weird.
We have a student who is kind of the poster boy.
He likes to let everybody know that he has Asperger's on campus
which is great.
He graduated last year but he walks around with a derby and he
thinks he's the Lord of the Manor and those kinds of things
which is just wonderful.
He is just a fascinating young man.
You can kind of socially isolate him, sometimes because people
think he's weird.
But they are very, very bright students.
So we work a lot with different campuses to help them to get
better social skills, to be able to adjust and the more norm
if you will while still being the individual they are.
So we see the whole spectrum if you can tell.
From your perspective, some of the things is you might see them
in your class seemingly distressed if you will.
A sign of a distressed student we find a lot of times in class
are they just seem angry a lot and they will comment
on everything.
They just will be very rude to you or very disruptive generally
in class, maybe get up and leave the classroom just without
saying a word and being loud about it.
Those kinds of things that are just, they just feel
a little off.
It's beyond what I would say just being rude.
It's beyond that.
It's also that if there is something is just telling you
that there's just not something right there.
We would encourage you to give us a call to talk about that.
That if in anyway you feel like something might be just a little
off with this person, it's better to chat with us about.
Again, that on call counselor we have is available at a couple
times during the day.
So you'll get a call back if we're not available at the time
you call that same day.
So just talk about maybe some of these concerns.
A big thing that happened after the Virginia Tech thing is we've
got a whole lot of professors calling us saying okay I've got
this writing, this person wrote a paper on this and so forth
and so on.
That's a really hard one to know, because there is this
whole freedom of speech thing that they should be able
to write what they want to write.
Then you also have to say that if there is something that
is disturbing in there and potentially could indicate
a harm to themselves or someone else, do we respond?
Well, we decided well yeah, we'll meet with them.
So generally, it's judicial affairs and the counseling
center will meet.
What we try to gauge is, is this a behavioral issue or is this
a psychological issue?
So a lot of times we will say is we're not saying you cannot
write what you want to write but number one:
stick to the assignment, but number two: what was your
meaning behind this?
So that's been our new way of trying to deal with it
is basically trying to gauge the best that we can and that's all
we can say is the best we can.
This is just a behavioral issue, they were doing it maybe for
attention or they weren't or is it really a psychological kind
of a thing.
So we would recommend, too if you have anything where it comes
up in homework assignments, writing assignments, anything
like that, just get ahold of either the counseling center
or judicial affairs and we'd be happy to try to address it.
Sometimes [unclear audio] do you want to jump up here with us?
Speaking of judicial affairs, this is Heather Webb
from Judicial Affairs.
She is the director of Judicial Affairs who just had a baby
a couple of weeks ago.
Three weeks ago which I saw her in Walmart today.
She's beautiful.
We work very closely.
People don't usually think that Judicial Affairs and counseling
would work very closely but we do just because of the nature
of the students that come onto our campus.
There is a lot of behaviorial problems and so from
the perspective of what we try to take is let's address
the behavior.
Let's not necessarily guess all of the psychological stuff
behind it.
Let's first address the behavior.
So, you want to speak a little bit to that?
I get to hold this.
Actually, one of the statements that we have in our kind of
conduct which is Standard 2A which is students are prohibited
from doing anything that causes harm to others or to themselves
and that's a way that Eastern Illinois University is a little
bit unique is that it is against the code of conduct
to harm yourself or to make gestures where you're
threatening to harm yourself or make gestures where you're
threatening to harm others or even make statements
even joking around about I'm going to hurt myself.
Those are things that are against our code of coduct.
Part of why that is in our code of conduct is because
it's very, very disturbing to our overall community.
Think about it if you live in a residence hall and if the person
who lives three doors down from you starts saying I'm going to
hurt myself, I'm going to hurt myself and they run up and down
the hallway telling everybody about it.
As a resident living on that floor, you're going to feel
really disturbed and bothered by that.
So we really try to drive that home to our students that we're
not saying to you, we don't care about you but we're saying
we need to look at both what's good for you as an individual
as well as what's good for the overall community.
So that's why Judicial Affairs plays a really integral role
in addressing some of our student behaviors such as
self-harm behaviors or students that maybe you're just a little
bit off and maybe just acting in a way in their community
that just is a little bit disturbing.
We talk about residence hall communities but certainly the
classroom is also another type of community that we look at.
So sometimes when we talk to students about the community
aspect, I might say your math class, that's a community that
you have with those students and you need to think about how
your statements and your behaviors are impacting those
individuals but also how they are impacting the ability
for others to learn, the ability for your instructors to be able
to teach and maintain control over the classroom as well
so that we have the type of environment where
everybody can learn.
One of the things we do very commonly too together are
behavioral contracts, that basically indicates and it's
usually in the area of self-harm but even the person that
I was telling you about who was psychotic,
we did a behavioral contract.
It's when there is a disturbing behavior, a behavior against
a student conduct code and anything that falls under that
area where we think, okay they can still stay on campus
but we really need to like rein them in.
So we do a contract which basically says, we can't tell
you how to feel but we can tell you what you're supposed to do
about when to feel this way.
So, if you're feeling this way, you need to contact
the right people.
You can't threaten to do this, you can't harm yourself,
you can't threaten others, you have to go to class.
That's in there.
You can't use alcohol or drugs even when they're 21,
if it's been like a suicidal thing because of the risk
factors that go along with that.
And then they're just, basically is what is expected anyway
of a college student but it really spells it out
and it says if you don't follow this, if you violate this,
so you could potentially be sent home.
We've had very, very few who have actually gone home because
of it out of the many, many, many we have done.
So they have been very, very effective.
A lot of people feel like are you being punitive with people
who are maybe depressed or such like that.
No we're not.
Really what we're doing is because if they're suicidal,
we're trying to look to see it's like mental health,
we're basically it.
We use to be the short term facility, now we're the
long term facility for the area of seen students.
So if the counseling center can't do it, then it's usually
where they need to go home to get some treatment.
Behavioral contracts is almost like being a good parent
if you will.
Telling them these are the things that you need to do
to be healthy and we expect this of you to be able to stay
on campus.
So it's been very, very effective.
When they do the behavioral contract, what we've initiated
now too is they also then have to come over to the counseling
center to do a consultation appointment where it gets them
over to us so at least they can get through that first step.
That first walk through the doors is the scariest and then
we just go over the complete resources on campus.
If they're socially isolated, we get them hooked up with
a student organization or maybe a church group
or things like that.
All different types of resources for them on campus.