The Office of Faculty Development

Supporting Students in Crisis

Now more than ever, people (both students and faculty) are experiencing increasing and prolonged stress, trauma, and crisis, and it is important to understand the impact these experiences have on teaching and learning. This teaching guide shares links to material and information for understanding how trauma and stress manifest in the brain and body, and provides resources for supporting students and faculty in crisis.

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    Examine selected research on students in higher education who experience trauma, stress, and crisis: 

    Baloran, E. T. (2020). Knowledge, Attitudes, Anxiety, and Coping Strategies of Students during COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 25(8), 635–642. in new window)

    Di Pietro, G. (2018). The academic impact of natural disasters: evidence from L’Aquila earthquake. Education Economics, 26(1), 62–77. in new window)

    Choudhury, T. K., John, K., & Nanavaty, N. (2019). Impacts of challenging life experiences on professional development in graduate trainees. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 29(2), 108–118. in new window)

    Tang, Y. Y., Hölzel, B. K., & Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature reviews Neuroscience, 16(4), 213–225. in new window)


    In addition to cultivating community, communication, and well-being in your teaching, it is important to know how to react when a student or fellow faculty member approaches us or we recognize that a person is in a state of crisis? Here are some steps and strategies to guide you should find yourself supporting a student or colleague in a crisis situation:

    Get to know your students and check-in or communicate often. Become familiar with Recognizing Distress(opens in new window) and the resources in the CSU Red Folder(opens in new window). If you recognize any of these signs in your students or colleagues, SAY SOMETHING - your expression of care and concern could save a life. Be direct, listen attentively, and if concern for the person’s wellbeing remains, submit a referral(opens in new window) to the Campus Assessment and Response Education (CARE) Team. Ensure that connection to appropriate campus resources are facilitated, and document the conversation and any actions taken to support the student or faculty member. 

    NOTE. The CARE Team is not tasked with responding to emergencies. If you or someone you know are in need of immediate assistance, please contact University Police at 530-898-5555.

    PLEASE ALSO NOTE: Faculty and staff at CSU are mandated to report crisis situations involving sexual misconduct, and domestic or dating violence to the appropriate Title IX(opens in new window) contact.






Explore the many resources CSU offers on Recognizing Distress in Students and supporting students through the WellCAT Counseling CenterCARE Team, and WellCAT Safe Space.

Listen to the Rise, Teach, Learn podcast entitled, Supporting Students and Faculty in Crisis(opens in new window).

Learn more about the impacts of stress and trauma on the body in this Science of Success(opens in new window) podcast.

Listen to the podcast Trauma Informed Education(opens in new window) to learn more about issues and trends in supporting students in crisis. 

Watch this TedX Talk on The Effect of Trauma on the Brain and How it Affects Behavior(opens in new window).

Watch this TedX Talk onTrauma Informed Teaching(opens in new window), to learn more aboutsupporting students in times of crisis.

Read Trauma Stewardship(opens in new window) and learn how to better care for yourself while also caring for others. 

Explore the transformation from PTSD to PTG in, What Doesn’t Kill Us(opens in new window).

Explore the personality changing benefits of mindfulness by reading, Posttraumatic Growth: Theory, Research, and Application(opens in new window).