Recognizing Students in Distress

Signs of mild to moderate Distress:

  • Deteriorating academic performance
  • May include: change from passing grades to unaccountably poor performance, incapacitating test anxiety, sporadic class attendance or extended absences from class, missed assignments.
  • Changes in mood, relationships, behavior
  • May include: appearing confused, irritable, anxious, depressed, unmotivated, lethargic, rapid speech, swollen, red eyes; market change in personal dress, hygiene, falling asleep during class.
  • Begins or increases alcohol use
  • Repeated requests for special consideration
  • Shows signs of injury to self, cuts bruises or sprains

Signs of severe distress or crisis:

  • highly disruptive behavior (ie hostility, aggression, violence, etc.)
  • inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech; unconnected, disjointed, or rambling thoughts).
  • loss of contact with reality.
  • displays extreme suspiciousness or irrational fears, withdraws, isolates, believes he/she is being watched or followed
  • stalking behaviors.
  • inappropriate communications (including threatening letters, email messages, harassment)
  • makes statements regarding suicide, homicide, feelings of hopeless and helplessness (including referring to suicide as current option or in a written assignment).
  • threat to harm others.

Signs of threatening behavior:

  • A student violates your personal space
  • A student raises his/her voice and seems irrational
  • A student implies or makes a direct threat to harm themselves or others
  • A student displays a firearm or weapon
  • A student physically confronts/attacks another student
  • A student stalks or harasses a faculty member
  • A student sends threatening emails, letters, and other correspondence to a staff/faculty
  • An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend stalks a colleague