The Depressed Student

Typically, these students get the most sympathy. They show a multitude of symptoms, e.g., guilt, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and inadequacy, as well as physical symptoms such as decreased or increased appetite, difficulty staying asleep or awake, early awakening, and low interest in daily activities. They show low activity levels because everything is an effort and they have little energy.

  • Let the student know you're aware he/she is feeling down and you would like to help.
  • Reach out more than halfway and encourage the student to express how he/she is feeling, for he/she is often initially reluctant to talk. Others' attention helps these students feel more worthwhile.
  • Tell the student of your concern, using specific examples (e.g., "I was concerned when you fell asleep in class today").
  • Ask the student directly if you suspect that he/she is suicidal. (See next section.)
  • Say, "Don't worry," "Crying won't help," or "Everything will be better tomorrow."
  • Be afraid to ask whether the student is suicidal if you think he/she may be.