At UNC Asheville we strive to foster a community of care. College is a time of on going growth and this journey can become complicated by various life transitions. We want our students to know that it is okay to not feel completely confident when these concerns arise and we want to partner with you along your path to resolution. If you or one of your peers experiences difficulty in any part of your life, please reach out to the Office of the Dean of Students.
If you would like to report a concern you have for another person, please complete our “Referring a Concern” form. The nature of the concerns can range from providing general information about something out of the ordinary to a greater concern as someone works through a major life transition. If you want to help your peers work through an issue they are experiencing, we provided tips for how to facilitate a productive conversation in the section below. If you have a concern and would like assistance in facilitating the conversation, please reach out to the Office of the Dean of Students and one of our team members can help you work through any concerns you have.
When to be Concerned
The following situations or behavioral changes could mean that a student needs additional support. This list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to listen to your intuition if you believe someone may be experiencing extreme difficulty.
- Sudden change in communication habits
- Sudden drastic change in weight
- Not attending classes
- Not completing assignments
- Exceedingly low grades
- Excessive inexplicable need for extra money
How to Talk to Your Peers
We want to empower our students to act as sources of support for their peers when appropriate and when they feel comfortable doing so. Below are tips for facilitating a productive conversation if you are concerned for a peer’s well being:
- Prepare for the conversation
- Think about your ideal outcome to help create a goal for the conversation
- Balance this goal with thoughts of alternative outcomes to analyze the situation through different perspectives
- Be mindful of your own triggers
- There may be specific situations that cause you to have a deep emotional response
- Be aware of these triggers going into the conversation. If you think one of these triggers would cause the conversation to move away from a productive place, find another peer or a University staff member to address the concern
- Let your peer know that you care for them and are concerned for them
- Although this fact is one your peer most likely knows subconsciously, it is important to make it known in this moment
- Be mindful of your tone and body language
- These two aspects of the conversation are subtle but important
- Be sure that you are expressing care and concern for your peer at all times
- Use “I” statements
- When discussing the concern use phrases like “I am concerned for you” or “I noticed a change in your energy levels”
- This will allow your peer to understand how their actions are impacting you and where your concern
- Ask direct questions
- If you have an explicit concern that your peer is self harming or experiencing suicidal ideation you can ask them these questions directly
- Do not be concerned that you are putting potentially harmful thoughts in your mind. Asking your peer these questions can allow them to feel recognized during their time of need
- Connect them with resources
- Do not overwhelm them with a long list at one time. Think about the one or two most helpful resources for the issue they are working through and provide them with information
- If this resource involves visiting an on or off campus facility, offer to go with them as you are comfortable. Seeking help can be daunting when someone is experiencing difficulties and sometimes having a supportive person make the initial contact with them can make all the difference
- Follow up after the conversation
- Following up with your peer the day or two days after the initial conversation will ensure them that your biggest concern is their well being
- Follow up also allows your peer to recognize that your relationship remains strong after a potentially challenging conversation
- Practice self care throughout the entire process
- Serving as a source of support during a peer’s time of need can cause you to feel overwhelmed
- If you recognize that the situation is taking a toll on you, please reach out to a member of the Dean of Students team or the Health and Counseling center
- Remember, if you are not taking care of yourself you will not be in a place to care for others
Please connect with a member of the Health and Counseling staff or our team in the Office of the Dean of Students if you need additional resources navigating these concerns. Additionally, The JED Foundation and The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provides additional resources on how to help a peer when you are concerned for their well-being.
Sense of Belonging
College is a time of on going transition and growth. We want to make sure that each member of our community finds a place that fulfills their needs for connection and belonging. Building connections in the campus community promotes one’s sense of belonging which helps foster academic success. As you are adjusting to campus for the first time or experiencing a life transition that is causing you to interact with our community in a new capacity we want to help you make connections. If can be difficult to build new connections but we do not want this experience to overwhelm you. Remember, you are not alone in your transition. Below are resources that can help you feel connected at UNC Asheville.
- If you live on campus, you can connect with your Community Director (CD):
- If you live off campus, you can contact the Student Affairs Case Manager, Laura Carper
- A list of registered student organizations can be found here
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a variety of cultural and identity-based programs and services for the campus community
- Intramural Sports is another way to get involved on campus
- Follow the University events calendar
- Highsmith Union – Campus Entertainment
UNC Asheville is known for its strong academic programs. Each semester and each course will bring about different challenges than you’ve experienced. If any component of your academics is causing you concern, please connect with the advisors in OneStop. The OneStop team can work with you to address any number of concerns. Remember, visiting this office when your concern first arises is beneficial but it is never to late too reach out for help!
If you are experiencing difficulty in a particular course, be sure to connect with your professor during their office hours. If you are not free during their scheduled office hours, spend a few minutes after class and ask your professor if the two of you could schedule a meeting. Most professors are more than willing to meet with students outside of their office hours; you just have to work together to coordinate that time.
We recognize that faculty office hours may not address all of the concerns our students have so we provide various sources of out-of-classroom support. Check out the peer tutoring schedule each semester to see if your course of concern has a tutor available. The University Writing Center and the Joe Parsons Math Lab are two additional resources to support the academic success of our students.
If you are managing a personal concern that causes you to miss one or more classes, reach out to your faculty member(s) as quickly as possible. Attendance is a cornerstone of academic success and faculty members are allowed to address the absence(s) as they see fit. Communicating with your faculty during challenging times can allow them to work with you in a more productive manner. If there is an extenuating circumstance that will cause you to continually miss class, please connect with OneStop or the Student Affairs Case Manager, Gabby Porcaro, as quickly as possible so we can work together to develop a reasonable plan to address the concern.
If you have a documented learning disability and you had a EIP or 504 plan, please work with the Office of Academic Accessibility to identify what accommodations are available to you. If you are experiencing inexplicable learning challenges and you do not have a diagnosed learning disability, please connect with the Student Affairs Case Manager, who can help you identify resources to promote your academic success.
If you or a peer are experiencing a critical mental health emergency, the Health and Counseling center has a new after-hours and weekend Nurse Hotline number, 1-888-267-3675. Students can access immediate help for concerns associated with anxiety, depression, panic, suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors, concern for friend, medical consultation and community resources. University Police, (828) 250-2710, can still be used as a resource to connect you and your peers with this hotline should you forget the number during your time of need.
People will struggle many times throughout their life. We do not want our students experiencing struggles on their own. If you or a peer have considered suicide, please reach out to our Health and Counseling Center or a member of our Dean of Students team. Seeking out help when you have suicidal thoughts does not mean that you will be faced with punitive repercussions. We are supportive of people who are actively working to promote their mental health we want to work with you to identify resources on and off-campus to do so in a healthy and safe manner.
If you are concerned about a peer and there is no immediate risk, please submit a Concern or connect with a member of the Health and Counseling or Dean of Students’ teams. Please refer to the “How to talk to your peers” section of this site if you are seeking resources on productive ways to facilitate a conversation about a peer’s potential suicide ideation.
Students, if someone from the University reaches out to you, please know that it comes from a place of utmost care and not intrusion. Below are additional resources outside of UNC Asheville.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Mobile Crisis Management Services
- The JED Foundation
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety, although quite common among college students, can be uncomfortable for people to talk about. We know that students will arrive at UNC Asheville already working through these and other mental health concerns and many others may experience them for the first time after beginning their college career. We strive to promote a culture of care in every facet of campus life and want to encourage any person who feels they may be working through a mental health issue to seek help early on. Seeking help for a mental health issue is not a sign of weakness as many societal issues try to force individuals to believe. In fact, we believe seeking help is a sign of immense strength.
Our students can have a nearly seamless continuity of care for depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues through our Health and Counseling Center. College is a time of continual growth and transition. If you currently use medication for depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue please maintain your use. If you are struggling with medication management the Health and Counseling team can help you. If you experience academic difficulties as a result of mental health concerns, you can work with an advisor at OneStop to find potential resolution plans. Below are additional resources on and off-campus if you are working through depression, anxiety or other mental health-related issues. Depression and anxiety can manifest in various ways in different people and are not health issues that can be self-diagnosed. Please also be mindful of the dangers of self-medicating or self-treating if you or someone you know is working through depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue.
- Health and Counseling Center
- Advising and Learning Support
- Test Taking Anxiety
- Test anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced before, during, or after an exam because of concern, worry, or fear. Almost everyone experiences some anxiety, but some students find that anxiety interferes with their learning and test-taking to such an extent that their grades are seriously affected. The team in Advising and Learning Support has different resources available to address this type of concern.
- Test Taking Anxiety
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Alcohol or Drug Use
Fall 2014 saw the first Collegiate Recovery Community at UNC Asheville. This community of students, staff, and faculty provides a culture of care for individuals working to achieve or maintain sobriety. This space is not one of judgment or blame but rather of care and support. Substance use is typically related to managing unwanted or unknown emotions. Being mindful of care for yourself as you work through substance use is crucially important and the Collegiate Recovery Community can help you manage that. The Health and Counseling Center at UNC Asheville offers a variety of support services for individuals working through substance abuse-related issues. The website provides information for both on and off-campus resources if you are seeking help for yourself or for a peer.
We recognize that students might be hesitant to seek help in times of emergency related to substance use for fear of repercussions. At UNC Asheville we have a Medical Amnesty Policy to encourage our students to seek help for themselves or their peers during times or crisis.
Disordered Eating Behaviors
The UNC Asheville community uses a holistic approach to promoting the health and wellness of our students. Our Registered Dietician, Health and Counseling Center, and our Dean of Students team work collaboratively to address and manage remedies for students working with disordered eating behaviors or diagnosed eating disorders. Disordered eating behaviors can manifest in a variety of ways and there is no overnight resolution plan to addressing this concern. However, by promoting a community of care in every facet of campus life, we work to address both the physical and mental health components that catalyze disordered eating behaviors. We want to help our students develop healthy, safe, and sustainable plans for their lives on campus and post-graduation. Below are resources both on and off-campus that can help students work through disordered eating behaviors.
- Carolina Resource Center for Eating Disorders (formerly T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating)
- Park Ridge Health
All members of the University community are expected to engage in conduct that contributes to the culture of integrity and honor upon which the University of North Carolina at Asheville is grounded. Acts of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, jeopardize the health and welfare of our campus community and the larger community as a whole. The University has established procedures for preventing and investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking that are compliant with Title IX federal regulations. To learn more about these procedures, visit the Title IX Information and Support site. Below are additional on and off-campus resources for survivors of sexual assault.
The landscape of higher education is significantly different today than in the past. More students face various financial stressors throughout their collegiate journey. We want to remind our students that financial planning is important before they graduate college. Staff members in Financial Aid can meet with students at any point throughout the year to discuss tuition relate concerns, not just during FAFSA season. There are various programs held on campus each year that help students think about budgeting and planning so more of our students can be financially soluble throughout college. Below are links to on and off-campus resources to help address financial concerns including places to look for part-time employment.
- Financial Aid
- Search for different scholarships or grants that may be available to you
- Submit an appeal
- Search for part-time job opportunities
- On Track
- On Track’s Mission: “Western North Carolina’s trusted non-profit source for financial education and counseling for over 30 years. We help people achieve their money and housing goals through financial education, counseling, and support so that they can overcome crises, afford their basic needs, improve their money-management skills, and make financial choices rooted in their values.”
- HEALS (Health Education and Legal Support)
- HEALS can help you navigate legal barriers to public benefits, off-campus housing issues, and consumer collections.
- AC Online
- AC Online provides information, programs, and resources for college students with severe financial needs and who may be facing homelessness.
The Health and Counseling Center at UNC Asheville provides primary care practitioner-level medical services to our students. If you are not feeling well, please be proactive and visit the Health and Counseling Center before a potentially minor concern turns into a higher-risk medical issue. Preventive health care is something that helps to promote the health and safety of our entire community. As we adjust to new environments, new patterns, and new people it is easy to wear ourselves down. Eat well, get appropriate amounts of sleep, and listen to your body. Each fall we host free flu shot clinics so be on the lookout for this year’s dates. If you have ongoing medical issues that were managed with a doctor at home, the Health and Counseling Center can facilitate continuity care plans either on-campus or help to refer out to local practitioners. Below are links to additional off-campus medical resources.
- Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care
- Different locations and their phone numbers
- 1833 Hendersonville Road, 828-274-1462
- 61-B Weaver Boulevard, 828-645-5088
- 1201 Patton Avenue, 828-252-4878
- Different locations and their phone numbers
- Minnie Jones Health Center
- 257 Biltmore Avenue, 828-285-0622
Report a Bias Incident
A bias incident is an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, violence or criminal offense committed against any person, group or property that appears to be intentional and motivated by prejudice or bias. Such are usually associated with negative feelings and beliefs with respect to others’ race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age social class, political affiliation, disability, veteran status, club affiliation or organizational membership.
If you or a peer have experienced or witnessed a biased-related incident, please report the incident here.