Although many Loyola Marymount University students manage college life effectively, some do not cope as well, and others struggle significantly. Also, students may experience emotional or life crises that temporarily disrupt their lives. Some of the more serious psychological problems include depression and suicidal thoughts or behavior, extreme anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Young adulthood is also the typical age of onset for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
As faculty and staff, you may sometimes find yourself with students who have serious psychological problems or who are in crisis. As you are in a position of general authority and responsibility, students may look to you for help. Most college students do not have serious problems and your support and guidance may be all that is needed. However, when more assistance is needed, please refer students to our office. SPS psychologists are available to consult with faculty and staff.
Download the Student Psychological Services Guide for Faculty & Staff.
What SPS Offers
SPS is available to provide confidential psychological and emotional assistance to students currently enrolled at LMU; there is no charge for our services. SPS offers individual, group, and couples therapy; crisis intervention; consultation; and referrals. SPS staff also provide the LMU community with information, educational presentations, and workshops on a variety of mental health topics.
What Students Can Expect
After an initial appointment, the student and his/her therapist will decide together on appropriate and achievable therapy goals. Therapy sessions typically last about 50 minutes and usually occur weekly. The duration of the therapy will depend on the nature and extent of the student’s concerns. If the student needs specialized or extended therapy, SPS staff may refer the student to an off-campus provider.
When to Refer to SPS
Whenever you feel a student’s problems involve significant issues outside the academic realm, please refer the student to SPS directly. You are also welcome to contact SPS for consultation. Your referral is a vitally important step to help a troubled student and we appreciate your concern.
Common signs that students might need professional help include:
- A dramatic decline in academic performance, including increased absenteeism and/or failure to complete assignments.
- Talking about feelings of hopelessness or helplessness as well as direct and/or indirect suicidal references, including saying “goodbye.”
- Indications of substance abuse, including alcohol and/or drug reference. A crisis event, including academic problems and pressures, family or relationship problems, financial stress, and other acute life events.
General recommendations on what to do and say:
- Express your care and concern, e.g., “I am concerned about you.”
- Describe the behavior that concerns you, e.g., “Your grades have dropped significantly and you have missed several classes,” or “You seem depressed.”
- Remain calm and non-judgmental; listen to what the student is saying or not saying.
- Support the student’s feelings by acknowledging the difficulty of his/her situation; avoid dismissing feeling by saying “many people feel that way.”
- Offer your assistance in seeking additional help from others; provide options for support; and encourage problem-solving and constructive actions.
- Because people in crisis may not be thinking beyond the pain of the immediate situation, discourage them from making impulsive or life-changing decisions.
- If a student appears to be suicidal, listen to what the student says and treat it seriously. You may wish to phone SPS for a consult and/or remain with the student and call SPS and/or escort the student to SPS.
A student’s contact with SPS is protected by laws of confidentiality and privilege except under rare legal exceptions. Students often need to be assured that apart from these exceptions, SPS will not disclose information without the student’s written permission. Some students about whom you are concerned and seek a consultation may already be in therapy at SPS; if this is the case, while we cannot disclose any information about the student, we will make every effort to consult with you and assist you regarding your concerns
If you believe a student is in crisis and should be seen immediately, please call SPS at (310) 338-2868 to alert the staff. If you feel a student needs immediate support, consider walking with the student to SPS on the second floor of Burns Recreation Center, on the north side. You may also phone Public Safety at (310) 338-2893 who can provide accompaniment to SPS.