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Resources for Faculty and Staff

For students who have experienced a trauma like domestic violence or sexual assault, recovery may take some time. Developing strong support networks and for some, seeking professional help, is an essential step in the recovery process. Faculty and staff are in a unique position to be able to assist students in crisis by providing referrals and support.

Before you are able to offer assistance to a student, you must be able to recognize when a student is in distress. Indications that a student might be having difficulty coping with a trauma include:

Academic Indicators

  • Deterioration in quality of work
  • Missed assignments
  • Repeated absences
  • Recurrent requests for special accommodations (e.g. extensions)
  • Work depicting hopelessness, isolation, anger, or despair
  • Discomfort with classroom discussions that address sensitive or related topics

Interpersonal Indicators

  • Direct statements suggesting distress
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Excessive dependency
  • Social isolation
  • Irritability
  • Unlikely explanations for peculiar behavior or injuries

Physical Indicators

  • Visible injuries
  • Drastic changes in appearance or hygiene
  • Extreme weight fluctuations
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-injurious or self-destructive behavior

Psychological Indicators

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Hopelessness/helplessness
  • Self-blame
  • Excessive guilt
  • Embarrassment or shame

What you can do to help

  • Stay calm.
  • Believe the student and reassure her/him that she/he is not to blame.
  • Listen without asking for too many details; only ask about what you NEED to know.
  • Be nonjudgmental.
  • Assess whether the student feels safe. If the student does not feel safe, do what you can to help them feel more secure.
  • Respect the student’s wishes about confidentiality, unless you believe the student poses a risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Then, contact Counseling Services (978-665-3152) or in an emergency, Campus Police (978-665-3111).
  • If you need to seek advice about what you heard and how to handle it, ask the student’s permission, if it is possible and sensible to do so. Then, contact Counseling Services for consultation.
  • Encourage the student to seek medical attention.
  • Suggest that the student consider going to Counseling Services – normalize the need for seeking additional support after a trauma.
  • Be open and realistic with the student about how you can be helpful – avoid making promises that you can’t keep.
  • Provide the student with local resources (see below), explain the options, and allow her/him to make the final decision about whether to and with whom to seek help.


Campus Police: 978-665-3111

Counseling Services: 978-665-3152 (Services are free and confidential to all enrolled students)

Health Services: 978-665-3216 (Services are confidential, including emergency contraception and both STI and pregnancy testing)

YWCA/Battered Women’s Resources: 978-537-8601 (24-hour Hotline)

Pathways For Change (Rape Crisis Center): 1-800-870-5905 (24-hour Hotline)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Get Help