Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students don’t seek help when they need it.

Students are unable to seek help for psychological or medical reasons.

Increasing numbers of students are entering college with a history of mental health issues, (e.g,. depression, eating disorders) as well as learning disabilities. While advances in the medical field have made it possible for these students to enter higher education, the increased stress of being away from home, negotiating new environments, and adapting to the nature of academic work sometimes impacts their behavior, including help-seeking behavior. Because students develop holistically (i.e., intellectual, social, psychological and emotional development cannot be separated), we as instructors need to be mindful of this.


Urge students to use support services.

If you suspect that students are not seeking help for these reasons, you may want to suggest that they talk with their advisor, the Counseling Center, Student Affairs, Equal Opportunity Services, and/or Student Health Services. If you have questions about how best to refer students to these services, contact the respective professionals for advice.

Consult with Student Affairs.

If you are uncomfortable approaching a student about these issues or unsure about the best course of action to take, call Student Affairs at x82064; they will transfer you to the appropriate college liaison, a person who has knowledge about and connections within the students’ college and across the university, as well as experience dealing with students having difficulty. They can help you determine whether and how to deal with the student. They are trained and deal with these issues on a daily basis, and they have the bigger picture (e.g., they know if the student is having difficulty in other classes, is on medication, is already receiving help from the Counseling Center), and they are happy to intervene if you both agree that is the best option.

This site supplements our 1-on-1 teaching consultations.
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