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Get Urgent Help


Faculty and Staff have a direct link to our students and can contribute to their well-being. Declining academic performance and worrisome behaviors are often indicators that a student may be facing struggles in other areas. Faculty and Staff are often the first to recognize when a student is distressed, distressing, or just needs additional support.

Signs a Student May be Distressed

Signs which may demonstrate a student is in distress and in need of support include but are not limited to the following: If a student is exhibiting concerning behavior, talk to them in a kind, honest, and direct way. The specific behaviors that are the cause for concern should be cited using clear language.

  • Disruptive physical, vernal or written behaviors inside/outside the classroom, on/off campus and/or online
  • Significant personal distress (academic, family, relationship problems)
  • Decline in personal grooming
  • Crosses interpersonal boundaries
  • Confrontational, easily provoked, angry, unpredictable behavior
  • Threatening statements about self or others (direct or veiled)
  • Threatening words or behavior toward self or others
  • Self-abuse such as cuts, burns, or extreme weight loss
  • Suicidal ideas, threats, gestures or known suicide attempts
  • Aggressive acts or threats toward a specific group
  • Relationship violence/stalking
  • Weapon possession
  • Paranoia or delusions
  • Flat affect or extreme lack of responsiveness
  • Excessive class absenteeism
  • Uncharacteristically poor academic performance
  • Substance abuse

How to Show Concern

  • Safety first- If you feel that you or the student are in danger, call 911
  • Talk with the student privately in a kind, honest and direct way. Provide specific examples of their behaviors of concern using clear, concrete language.
  • Share all available resources and encourage them to seek help.
  • Know your limits. Refer to a professional when:
    • The distress is hindering the student’s and/or other students' progress in class.
    • You see a worrisome behavior pattern when you interact with the student.
    • The problem seems more serious than you are comfortable handling.
    • You are worried about the student's safety.
    • You are concerned about the student's impact on others.
    • You feel pressure to solve the student's problem and/or feel responsible for the student.
    • You are over-extending yourself to help the student.
    • You feel anxious when the student approaches you.
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Supporting Students in Distress