Student services and support

Academic support

While many instructors will invite their students to come to them for direct advice and help, some students may be more comfortable asking their questions of others. Either way, normalizing help-seeking and the desire to build one's academic skill set is a tremendous opportunity that you have as a teacher. 

Financial support and student awards

Financial Support

Students facing financial difficulty can access several forms of advice and support at the University of Saskatchewan. Emergency loans, government student loans, scholarships and awards, and part-time job opportunities may all be appropriate sources.

Student Awards

Both entering and continuing students may be eligible for college- or department-specific awards. Encourage students to speak with the undergraduate office in their college for more information.

Student services

Student Central
Don't know who to call? Start here.

Student Health Services
Medical treatment for students and their families.

Student Counselling Services
Individual and couples therapy, workshops and meditation sessions.

ICT Service Desk
Email, PAWS and technology support.

Student Employment and Career Center
Career and employment skills, workshops and events.
SECC can present to your class. Learn more.

Disability Services for Students
Offers programs and advocacy services.

Student Learning Services
Academic support for writing, math and study skills.

International Student and Study Abroad Centre
Resources and services for international students and those wanting to go abroad.

Aboriginal Students' Centre
Personal, social, cultural and academic support through programs, services and events.

Protective Services
24-hour assistance with campus safety or security issues. 

Engagement and student life

Being involved in campus life and having positive social networks is often what keeps students committed to their academic goals, even through tough times when they may feel like quitting.

Concerned About a Student

If you are unsure what to do
Please contact the Student of Concern Advisory Team (SOCAT).

Student behavior requiring immediate attention 
In cases where a student’s behavior poses an imminent threat to themselves or others, call 911 or Protective Services at 306-966-5555.

Distress has the potential to compromise academic and interpersonal functioning. Those who work directly with students often see signs of distress and are in a unique position to reach out. While there are several support services for students, an initial conversation or inquiry about a student's well-being can have a significant impact, often prompting them to access timely help or make the changes necessary to ensure their academic situation isn't jeopardized.

Ways you can help

Possible signs of Student Distress

A common indicator of distress is change – behaving or reacting in ways that are different from what is typical for a particular individual.

Other possible signs include the following:

Academic Signs

  • Significant decline in the quality or quantity of classroom / research work
  • Change in attendance
  • Repeated lateness, missed appointments or deadlines
  • Missed assignments or exams
  • Repeated requests for extensions or deferrals
  • Repeated help seeking or requests for reassurance
  • Difficulty listening, processing information or problem-solving
  • Working hard but struggling to meet demands
Emotional Signs
  • Exaggerated emotional response (e.g., intense anger, sobbing, persistent worry)
  • Overly confident and enthusiastic
  • Absence of emotion – appearing flat, disengaged
  • Lack of motivation or interest
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Talking about giving up or not caring anymore
  • Talking or writing about hopelessness, death, or suicide
  • Mistrust or sense of being persecuted
  • Persistent blame, lack of ownership

Physical Signs

  • Falling asleep in class
  • Noticeable decline in hygiene or looking un-kept
  • Significant weight change
  • Significant change in energy level
  • Appearing drunk or high
  • Visible bruises, cuts or injuries

Behavioural Signs

  • Describing difficult circumstances or experiences (e.g., loss, conflict, trauma, assault)
  • Ranting emails
  • Excessive time spent on the internet or engaged in fantasy games
  • Expressing contempt toward others or a wish to seek revenge
  • Disregard of rules or authority
  • Peer reports of concerns about, or discomfort with a student
  • Actions or gestures that threaten or intimidate

An initial conversation or inquiry about a student’s well-being can have a significant impact, often prompting them to access timely help or makes the changes necessary to ensure their academic situation isn’t jeopardized.

Guidelines for Talking with a Distressed Student 

Talk in private and when you are not rushed

Be specific and direct

Describe the behaviours that are concerning and ask how the student is doing. For example:

  • I noticed that you were tearful (rather than depressed) in the group discussion today. I just wanted to check in and see if you’re okay.
  • I noticed that your grades have dropped quite a bit from last year. That can happen when courses get more challenging, but sometimes it’s happens when students have other things going on in life that are affecting their studies. Is that happening for you?

Truly listen

While it is automatic to want to fix, solve and make suggestions, one of the most meaningful ways to communicate care is to express an interest in hearing and understand a person’s experience. Other ways to communicate genuine interest include limit distractions, try not to rush the conversation, reflect back what you’ve heard and ask questions to clarify.

Acknowledge common stressors and experiences

Students often have the “I’m the only one” experience. While it is important for a student to have their experience respected, there are times when it can be very helpful to know that other students have similar experiences. Example:

  • Many first year students question whether they have what it takes to succeed at university, but think they are the only ones who doesn’t have it all worked out. How are you finding things?

Ask questions that help the student talk about their concerns

Often people have new understandings when they describe their circumstance to an interested party. The following questions can help facilitate this process:

  • What is the hardest part of this for you?
  • What are you most concerned about?
  • How is this affecting you?

Resist the urge to begin with suggestions or advice

Unless the situation is urgent (an immediate action is needed or the student is unable to engage in discussion or problem solving), it is most helpful to foster the student’s sense of being able to cope. Invite the student to them to draw on their own resources and experiences and encourage them to talk with people they trust and think may be helpful (e.g., friends, family, religious leader). Examples:

  • What options are you considering?
  • What have you tried so far?
  • Have you been in a similar situation before? If so, what helped then?
  • Who has been helpful to talk to in the past?

Provide information on resources and support services available on campus.

Let students know about the support services available on campus and explain this as routine practice to avoid them feeling judged or deemed to be  in need of special assistance. Walk the student to the support service if you have a serious concern.

Note that accessing these services is voluntary, unless the situation is urgent and the student is not safe managing on their own. 

Offer accommodations and assistance as appropriate. Be clear about expectations.

In most colleges instructors have the prerogative to grant academic accommodations (e.g., due date extensions, alternate dates for exams other than the final) without supporting documentation.

Consultation: Seek guidance or advice

There are people and services on campus and in our community to assist you in dealing with distressed students. Common reasons for consulting include:

  • determining the seriousness of a situation,
  • determining how quickly it needs to be addressed, and
  • reviewing or developing a plan for responding.
Consultation Options

Student Counselling Services 966-4920

When a student’s distress is interfering with academic functioning and you have questions about the following: seriousness of the situation, how best to intervene, how to deliver ‘bad news, what accommodations may be appropriate, what services are available, and when and how to refer students to counselling services.

Student Affairs Case Manager 966-5757

  • To report a situation of concern that you think has the potential to develop into something more serious
  • When a situation is likely to require multiple supports or interventions (e.g., a student’s paranoia is interfering with interactions with peers in class and residence)
  • When a student is engaging in threatening or seriously disruptive behaviour
  • When a traumatic event occurs on campus

Protective Services 306-966-5555 (24 hours)

When there is threatening behaviour, violence, stalking, or immediate danger

Mobile Crisis 933-6200 (after-hours consultation and 24 hour Crisis Line)

When you require after-hours consultation regarding an urgent situation

There are people and services on campus to assist you in dealing with distressed students. Common reasons for consulting include determining the seriousness of a situation and how quickly it needs to be addressed, as well as reviewing or developing a plan for responding. 

Consultation options

    • Consider consulting with a colleague, supervisor, department head, associate dean or other trusted member of the U of S community

    • Student Counselling Services 306-966-4920 
      When a student’s distress is interfering with academic functioning and you have questions about the following: seriousness of the situation, how best to intervene, how to deliver bad news, what accommodations may be appropriate, what services are available, and when and how to refer students to counselling servicest

Student Affairs Case Manager 306-966-5757  
      - Co-ordinator of The
Students of Concern Advisory Team (SOCAT)
    • To report a situation of concern that you think has the potential to develop into something more serious 
    • When a situation is likely to require multiple supports or interventions
    • When a student is engaging in threatening or seriously disruptive behaviour
    • When a traumatic event occurs on campus
    • Learn more about the Students of Concern Advisory Team
  • Protective Services 306-966-5555 (24 hours) 
    When there is threatening behaviour, violence, stalking or immediate danger

  • Mobile Crisis  306-933-6200 
    When you require after-hours consultation regarding an urgent situation