Distressed Students

Outdoor photo of students walking to class

What is my role?

While emotional or stressful responses are expected at certain times during the semester, you ay notie someone acting in a way that is inconsistent with your normal experience with that person. You may be able to serve as a helpful resource in times of distress/personal struggle. Your expression of interest and concern may be critical factors in helping the student re-establish an emotional connectedness with family and friends. You may also be able to alert our University staff to ensure a timely and appropriate intervention.

  • Marked change in academic performance or behavior
  • Excessive absense or tardiness
  • Trouble eating and/or sleeping
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Undue aggressiveness
  • Exaggerated emotional response that is obviously inappropriate to the situation
  • Depressed or lethargic mood
  • Hyperactivity or very rapid speech
  • Marked change in personal hygiene
  • Excessive confusion
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Dependency (individual hangs around or makes excessive appointments to see you)
  • Strange or bizarre behavior indicating loss of contact with reality
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Verbal or written references to suicide
  • Verbal or written referencing to harming another
  • Isolation from friends, family, or classmates
  • Give away prized possessions

Referrals and Resources

Counseling Center

104 College Park Office Building

An emergency counselor is available during office hours.
Walk-in hours: Monday-Friday, 1:30-4:00pm

Office of the Dean of Students


  • Do speak with the student privately
  • Do let him/her know you are concerned about his/her welfare
  • Do express your concern by describing changes you observed in non-judgemental terms
  • Do tell him/her you are willing to help
  • Do listen carefully to what he/she is troubled about
  • Do help him/her explore options
  • Do suggest resources
  • Do consult with others about your concerns
  • Do make referrals to the appropriate campus department and offer to accompany them if able
  • Do point out that help is available and seeking such help is a sign of strength and courage, rather than a weakness or failure
  • Do follow up with the student about your referral
  • Don't promise confidentiality
  • Don't judge or criticize
  • Don't ignore the unusual behavior
  • Don't make the problem your own
  • Don't involve yourself beyond the limits of your time or skill