During this unprecedented time, we know many of you, as well as those you support, are experiencing heightened stress. The Office for Research and Graduate Education is here to help connect you with the resources you need to be a successful advisor and mentor.
Suggested Action: The first step to helping a student is recognizing signs that they may be struggling. Meet individually with each graduate student to listen to their concerns and discuss progress toward graduation, including course work and research. We suggest you regularly check in with your students and note whether there are abnormal interactions, which can help to identify struggles early on.
Signs a student may be struggling can include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
- Changes in communication patterns.
- Changes in observable hygiene.
- Changes in quantity or quality of work, especially if falling significantly behind or failing.
- Changes in demeanor especially if becoming increasingly angry or withdrawn.
- Expressed statements of struggle such as the student sharing feelings of hopelessness or feelings of giving up. If a student expresses feelings of suicide, please report this as soon as possible. OSU Counseling and Consultation Services can reached immediately at any time at 614-292-5766. David Wirt, M.Ed., LPCC-S can be reached at the same number and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Immediate safety concerns involving harm to self or others should be reported to 9-1-1. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 via phone (800-273-8255) or chat and offers free and confidential support.
Know that it may be harder to identify students that are struggling when you don’t see them every day. Here are some suggestions for recognizing signs while at a distance. A brief personal message showing students you care can go a long way.
If you recognize a student is struggling and you are unsure how to address the situation, please don’t hesitate to contact David Wirt who can help identify a path forward. If you have questions about advising techniques, what resources are available for faculty, or would like more information about mentoring at a distance, contact Kayla Arnold.
Resources to share with students
There are many resources available at the college and university to help graduate students. I encourage you to share the below information with your students so they are aware of resources available to them. We have also included some text which can be used as a template when referring a student to mental health care.
- David Wirt, the CFAES embedded mental health counselor. He is available for new consultations and to establish routine care.
- Leo Taylor, Program Manager for Faculty and Staff Affairs organizes a peer-led graduate student support group meetings as well as diversity and inclusion programming for the college and university
- Graduate student support group meetings will continue to be held online indefinitely every Tuesday and Friday (4:30-5:30pm). To receive weekly meeting reminders and the zoom link please request to be added to the mailing list. Contact Leo Taylor if you have any questions about the group or meetings.
- Emergency Grants for Students: The university has created the Together As Buckeyes emergency grants program, funded primarily by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It is available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. For more information and to see eligibility details, please visit the COVID-19 financial aid webpage.
- Private Facebook Group - Leo Taylor moderates a private group on Facebook for OSU graduate students. Any OSU graduate student may join. The group can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/651180635642469/
- Our CFAES International Programs in Agriculture staff can assist with questions related to international students or scholars. Please reach out to Poppy Thornton or Luis Canas who can help direct you.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice is tracking stories of anti-Asian bias incidents. Incident reports can be submitted online. There you can also read stories submitted by people who have experienced anti-Asian bias.
- Kayla Arnold, CFAES Graduate Education Coordinator, is involved with graduate education programming and planning across the college. You can direct any general questions to her.
- It is important that students know what to do if they experience a bias incident. The OSU bias response website (BART) is currently being redesigned so all reports need to be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity. Reports may be submitted anonymously.
Template for referring student to mental health care:
David Wirt, M.Ed., LPCC-S is available to meet with students experiencing mental and behavioral health concerns. David is the counselor with Counseling and Consultation Services who is embedded in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. David’s office is located in the Agricultural Administration Building Room 100Y. He is available by appointment to meet with students Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. At this time and until further notice all sessions are being held virtually on a secure platform.
You can get started by calling 614-292-5766 and ask to schedule a triage appointment. You will be scheduled a time to talk via telephone with one of the CCS clinicians. When you call, mention you are in CFAES and ask about scheduling ongoing appointments with David Wirt. A triage appointment can also be set up online at https://go.osu.edu/phonescreening.
If your situation is urgent, please call the Counseling and Consultation Services main desk at 614-292-5766 and let them know you are calling regarding an urgent need.
If your situation involves feelings of threat of safety to yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 immediately, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via phone (800-273-8255) or chat, or go to your nearest emergency room.