Recognizing Mental Health Issues When Advising International Students NAFSA Region XII Nevada State Conference April 15, 2016 By Luis Ortega and Cheryl Woehr
International Student Adjustments New Place & Culture
Lack of support system
Pennsylvania State University Statistics Psychological Symptoms/Concerns, N=198 % of students who indicated experiencing Symptoms Academics Career Stress Loneliness Family Eating Sleep Interpersonal/Relationships Depression Anxiety Couple and Marital Problems Roommate Sexual orientation
71 60 43 28 23 22 21 20 18 16 15 10 6
Recognizing the Symptoms of Cultural Adjustment Difficulties Anxiety Depression Fatigue Feelings of Vulnerability Breakdown of Relationships (friends, family)
Depression Myths Quiz If you think someone is depressed, the best way to help them is to try to cheer them up. False
When life is rough, that’s when depression kicks in. False
Sadness and depression are different. True Depression affects your mood but not the rest of your body. False
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much is a symptom of depression. True
Most people can just “snap out” of a depression. False Sources: http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/quizzes/depression-mythsquiz/depression-inherited/
What is Depression? https://www.good.is/articles/depression-videosymptoms
Common Symptoms of Depression Persistent Sadness (lasting 2 weeks or longer) Fear of being alone in the world Feeling low energy Excessive worrying Feeling worthless or helpless
Weight changes Increase in Irritability, Aggression or Anger Increase in Alcohol Consumption and/or Reckless Behavior Thoughts That Your Life is not Worth Living
Common Symptoms of Depression Difficulty Sleeping or Sleeping Too Much Difficulty Concentrating Loss of Interest in Daily Activities Overwhelming and Uncontrollable Negative Thoughts
Loss of Appetite or Significant Increase in Appetite
Unexplained aches and pains https://projecthelping.org/the-symptoms/
Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior Substance abuse Previous attempt Mental illness Isolation Cultural values
History of suicide (attempts/family history)
Show That You Care Be a good listener Use listening techniques: • Paraphrasing • Clarifying • Summarizing When should you ask the question? • You seem unhappy. Is there something you want to talk about? • Are you thinking about giving up? • Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?
Things to Avoid Offering simple solutions Telling the student they have everything to live for
Acting shocked Assuming the person isn’t the “suicidal type”
Minimizing their feelings or the situation Telling them how they should feel Don’t leave the person alone until you can arrange immediate or long-term support
Remember to: Take any suicide threat seriously Be direct: ask the person if they are contemplating suicide
Assure the person that you care & want to help Explain that you need to get additional help Be willing to listen & avoid being judgmental Offer hope Refer to the appropriate resource
The Suicide Intervention Model (SIM) Phase 1: Connect to the person Explore invitation for help Is suicide an issue Relief of being able to talk about suicide Phase 2: Understanding Explore reasons for suicidal thoughts Listen to reasons The individual just wants to be understood Important for the individual to be heard What is their risk level Phase 3: Assisting
Create a plan to keep the student safe plan Follow up with commitments Help the individual to disable the plan Commit to an intervention Agree to have a contract in place
What Is Your Responsibility Vs Legal Responsibly? Knowing when to refer Who to refer to Legal 2000: Involuntary Hold Involuntary Treatment 72 hour hold
Case Scenario #1 You have received a progress report on Yuki who stopped attending classes after the 3rd week of classes last semester and is starting to repeat the same behavior this semester. Upon your request she meets with you and says that she just hasn’t felt like going to class, is unsure about her major. This is the 2nd semester this behavior has occurred.
How do you proceed with the conversation?
Case Scenario #2 Kengo is not attending classes and meets with you. After some exploration he admits he is not eating much, has lost weight, doesn’t leave his apartment much and doesn’t call his friends. This is his 4th semester at CSN and he has a gpa of 2.1
How do you proceed with the conversation?
Resources 1-877-885-HOPE (4673) 1-800-273-TALK (8255)