"There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life"
-Sister Mary Rose McGeady

The Early Alert Referral System (EARS) form serves a vital purpose in the greater plan to create a campus culture of caring at LSUS. Instructors have the privilege of getting to know their students in the classroom, and have an understanding of each student's unique needs. By taking the time to complete the EARS form, instructors are making an important contribution to their student's academic success and even future career. As soon as the Dean of Students recieves a referral, a plan of action is initiated that may include one on one consultation with the student, study skills support, or  personal counseling. LSUS continues to strive for increased interconecteness among departments and we aim to collaborate our services in order to bring about better outcomes for our students. If you are aware of a student who needs assistance please complete and submit an online EARS form. 

How to Help Students in Distress

When should I be concerned about a student?

It is difficult to make a judgement about a student's personal issues or how he or she is coping. After all, students show a broad range of behaviors and coping skills. Taken alone, any one of the following indicators is not necessarily a sign of significant distress. However, a student exhibiting significant changes in their behavior or experiencing a number of these factors in combination may need assistance.

  • Academic indicators
    • Marked decline in academic work or work performance
    • Pattern of dropping classes and/or asking for extensions
    • Frequent absences from class
    • Difficulty concentrating or finding motivation
    • Academic work with themes of depression, hopelessness, social isolation and/or despair
  • Emotional or physical indicators
    • Depressed demeanor, isolation, or withdrawal
    • Marked changes in personal hygiene, weight, or reported changes in eating/sleeping habits
    • Lack of energy, listlessness or falling asleep in class
    • Noticeable anxiety or panic, irritability, or aggressiveness
    • Inappropriate responses to the situation
    • Significant or sudden changes in mood
  • Social or interpersonal factors
    • Lack of social skills
    • Sudden withdrawal from faculty, staff or peers
    • Friction with other students
    • Too frequent or too lengthy visits to your office

How do I approach a student who may need help?

Students experiencing distress may not recognize their level of difficulty or know where to turn for assistance. Even when they recognize their distress, seeking assistance is too frequently seen as a sign of weakness and therefore ignored. You may make the difference by approaching and engaging the student to express your concerns in a caring and nonjudgmental way. Consider these guidelines when you decide to approach a student.

  • Be discreet. Find a private and comfortable place to talk with the student in person.
  • Be honest about your concerns. Be yourself and share your concerns without criticism.  
  • Listen and ask open-ended questions. Some students will respond and some will not. But most will be relieved that you are showing an interest, trying to understand, and offering help.
  • Express acceptance, understanding and concern. Respond to what you hear without judgements.
  • Gently respond to resistance. Students will vary in their acceptance of your help for a variety of reasons. Some may feel shame or as if their issues are not important enough to trouble others. Others are concerned that receiving counseling will impact on their academic record or job prospects. You can help alleviate their fears by normalizing the need to reach out, reinforcing the benefit of seeking help and addressing confidentiality.
  • Assist them in identifying options and offer to help make the referral. Direct the student to Student Development or other campus resources when appropriate.  
  • Do not promise confidentiality. Certain situations, like threats or suicidal ideation, require professional intervention and make keeping confidences impossible.  
  • Don't expect immediate results. Your offer of assistance may even be rejected. In the large majority of instances, it is still the right thing to do. Continue to keep the conversation open. Changing and learning new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving takes time. Patience, understanding, and follow up on the part of concerned faculty and staff is part of the helping process.
  • Recognize your level of responsibility. You are not solely responsible for solving the student's problem nor are you responsible for counseling the student. You share responsibility for responding to the student's need for help and connecting the student with appropriate resources.

Making a Referral

Depending on the nature and immediacy of your concerns, there are several ways you can connect students to resources. After you make a referral to Counseling Services, you are encouraged to follow up with the student and continue to express your support.

  • Should you have concerns about a student a student who is experiencing typical academic stress or developmental issues, you can inform the student of appropriate campus support services. Click on the Early Alert Referral Guide for an excellent resource for identifying campus resources.
  • For counseling concerns, you can offer the use of your phone and have the student call Counseling Services (x5365) from your office. Having the student make the appointment in your presence often reduces their anxiety and increases the likelihood they will keep the appointment. Usually appointments are available within 48 hours.  You can also walk the student to the Counseling Services office (ADM 229) so that the student knows where to go and the first visit is less intimidating.
  • You can opt to complete a referral by clicking on the Early Alert Referral System form and submiting it to Student Development. Upon receipt of the EARS, one of the counselors will attempt to contact the student and invite them to discuss concerns cited. It is always best to discuss the referral with the student; this discussion communicates your concern, reduces anxiety, and increases the chances the student will accept the referral.
  • For various reasons, students may want to seek resources off-campus. The Community Referral Sources document provides a listing of area resources available to students. While not comprehensive, the listing provides contact information on a variety of social service agencies, including medical, financial, legal and substance abuse assistance. You can also contact the Counseling Services office for additional community contacts.  
  • If the student is in crisis or you feel the situation needs immediate attention, call Student Development, explain the situation and make an immediate referral. The counselors will make every effort to be available and you can walk the student over.

What if I think it is an emergency?

  • If you receive a phone call from a student threatening suicide, do your best to keep the student on the line. Try and get the person's name and location. Calling 911 (or having a colleague call 911 while you keep the student on the line) is the best course of action in such a crisis. Follow-up your 911 contact by consulting with Counseling Services staff.
  • In many instances, the distressed student is not threatening immediate harm to self or others, and you will have time to connect the student with Counseling Services for assistance. When possible, walk the student to our office; the student will be seen immediately. If you are transferring a phone call to Counseling Services, please be sure to stay on the line with the student until you are sure the transfer was successful.
  • Other LSUS employees can also be contacted to assist you:
    • Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Development: Paula Atkins (x5116)
    • Director of Campus Police: Donald Wray (#999; 795-2392)
  • Off campus agencies are also available:
    • NW Louisiana Suicide Prevention Hotline: 877-994-2275
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
  • Be sure to communicate to the student what you are doing and why: "I can hear that you are very upset. I want to connect you with a professional staff person who can help you. I am going to stay on the line with you until I am sure you are speaking with someone who can help."

Dean of Students

AD 208
One University Place
Shreveport, La 71115
318-795-2461 (fax)

Hazing Report Form
Early Alert Referral System
Student Complaints
Title IX

Community Referral Sources

Philadelphia Center 318-222-6633 (Provides HIV/AIDS education and support)
AIDS Hotline 800-992-4379

Children's Services
Child Protection Hotline 318-676-7622
Gingerbread House 318-674-2900 (Coordinates agencies to provide for abused children)
Louisiana Office of Community Services 318-676-7100 (Services include elderly protection)

Disability Services
ARC of Caddo-Bossier 318-221-8392 (Programs for those with developmental disabilities)
Caddo Council on Aging 800-793-1198 (Information for seniors & adults with disabilities)
Families Helping Families 318-226-4541
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services 318-676-7155 (Employment assistance for persons with disabilities)
New Horizons 318-869-4300

Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Hotline 888-411-1333
National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233

Gambling Hotline 877-770-7867
Office for Addictive Disorders 318-632-2040 (Alcohol, drug, & gambling addiction treatment)

Financial Assistance
Consumer Credit Counseling 318-797-0885 (Non-profit debt assistance)
St. Vincent DePaul 318-865-7807 (emergency financial or rent/mortgage assistance)

Grief Counseling
A Place the Warms the Heart 318-746-5775 (Grief support group)

Biedenharn Center for Women 318-550-0016 (Variety of direct services to women with addiction)
Bossier Parish Office of Family Assistance 318-741-7320
Caddo Community Action Agency 318-861-4808 (Access to various agencies for low-income)
Caddo Parish Office of Family Support 318-676-7600
Center Point Energy 866-275-5252 (Good Neighbor Fuel Fund)
Centerpoint Homeless Services 318-221-2100
Christian Services 318-221-4857
Food Bank of NW Louisiana 318-675-2400 (Distributor of groceries and food)
Helping Hands 318-742-3823
LIHEAP Clearinghouse 888-454-2001 (Low income energy assistance; admin by CCAA)
Martin Luther King Health Center 318-227-2912 (Pharmacy & health care for low-income patients)
Pierre House 318-227-2869
Providence House 318-221-7887 (Short-term transitional housing & support)
The Salvation Army 318-424-3200 (Access to food/shelter/clothing)
Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission 318-629-8488 (Assistance for homeless & disadvantaged)

Legal Assistance
The Advocacy Center 318-227-6186 (Advocacy services for persons with disabilities)
Legal Services of NW Louisiana 318-222-7186 (Free civil services to low income and elderly)
Louisiana Civil Justice Center 800-310-7029 (Information and legal referrals)
Northwest Louisiana Pro Bono Project 318-865-8635 (Free legal assistance in civil & juvenile matters)

Medical Assistance
Caddo Parish Health Unit 318-676-5222
Christus Schumpert First Care 318-681-7877
David Raines Community Health Centers 318-227-3350; 318-549-2500
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center 800-488-2957
Total Care Medical Clinic 318-670-1251 (walk-in/urgent care)
Pool of Siloam Medical Ministry 318-631-2212 (Medical & dental care to low-income patients)
WK Quick Care 318-212-3520

Mental Health Providers
Community Mental Health Center 318-676-5111
Community Support Programs, Inc. 318-865-4566
Greg Guerin 318-349-5590
The Center for Families 318-222-0759
Samaritan Counseling Center 318-221-6121
Sandra Frith 318-239-0033
Shreveport Family Counseling Center 318-221-4455

Private Mental Health Providers
Private providers are listed in the phone book under: Mental Health Centers, Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Counselors; Students may want to check with insurance for provider coverage.

Parenting and pregnancy information
Volunteers of America of North Louisiana 318-221-5006 (Adoption & crisis pregnancy counseling services)
Parent Helpline 800-348-5437
Parent Stress Hotline 800-840-6537

Suicide Hotlines
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
NW Louisiana Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-877-994-2275

Substance Abuse
Al-Anon General Information 318-344-0212 (for family/friends of those with addiction)
Alcoholics Anonymous 318-865-2171
Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse 318-222-8511 (Information and treatment for adults and children)
NW Regional Center for Addictive Disorders 318-632-2040 (Information and treatment for adults and children)
North Louisiana Area Narcotics Anonymous 800-339-3723 (24 hour helpline)

Veteran's Assistance
Vet Center 318-861-1776 (Counseling, outreach and referral services)

Helpful Guide on Responding to Students Needing Assistance

If you have questions about the referral system, please contact Dean of Students Paula Atkins at paula.atkins@lsus.edu or at ext. 5116.