Tips for the KU Community:
How to support students during times of crisis

How to support students during times of crisis (PDF)

Communication and transparency are great ways to mitigate and manage the anxieties that may arise in times of crisis. Being proactive with your students by having open lines of communication is a great start. This may seem outside the realm of your typical relationship with your students, but certainly advisable and appropriate now. Find a communication stream that makes sense for you (email, recorded message, Blackboard announcement) to deliver the message. Here are some ideas for topics:

  • We all know you care about your students - let them know!
  • Humanize yourself. Let your students know how you are doing and what you are up to. Consider sharing that, like them, you are also juggling teacing and home/family responsibilities (such as homeschooling).
  • Make yourself available for office hours (either by appointment or otherwise) so students can get course related questions answered as well as some socializing.
  • Talk about what’s going on in the world. Ignoring COVID-19 and all the uncertainty around us is not be helpful.
  • When a student reaches out and discloses feelings or fears, validate them. Let them know that how they feel or what they are experiencing makes sense. Empathize with their feelings of stress and anxiety about the challenges they’re facing.

Posted April 16, 2020


Webinar: How to Support the KU Community During Times of Crisis

Watkins Health Services (WHS) and Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) co-sponsored this webinar on Monday May 4, 2020, with practical information on how to support students and colleagues within the KU community most effectively. Panelists participating in the webinar include:

  • Pavika Saripalli, MD - Chief of Staff, WHS
  • Jenny McKee, MSE - Health Education Program Manager, WHS
  • Heather Frost, PhD - Assistant Director, CAPS
  • Eric Atwood, DO - Psychiatrist, CAPS
  • Rachel Auten, LMSW - Director of Student Support and Case Management, Student Affairs
  • Heidi Garcia, MSE (moderator) - Associate Director, WHS



Review Tips from CAPS so you will be prepared if a student reaches out to you and they need mental health support and resources. Where to look when you need additional resources:

On Campus

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
CAPS Faculty and Staff Consultation
CAPS Self Help Library

Student Support & Case Management
Individualized caring support to KU students for a variety of needs

Health Education Resource Office
One on one education for KU students on a variety of health and wellness related topics, including self-management, sexual health, alcohol, tobacco and drugs

Off Campus & After Hours

LMH Health
785-505-5000 (or local hospital)

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center
785-843-9192 (or local mental health center)

Headquarters Counseling Center
785-841-2345 (or local crisis line)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Helpful Links

7 Science-based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety

Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty

Each KU student has a secure portal for communicating with us:

Login to myWHS 
  • Make Appointments
  • Request Rx Refills
  • View Balances
  • Check Messages
  • View Lab Results
  • and more!

Building Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Sat:  12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Sun: Closed

After Hours Care

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