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Counseling Center

Division of Student Life and Enrollment

Helping Distressed Students

Distressed Student

A student doesn’t have to be suicidal to be in distress.  Distress occurs whenever a person’s typical coping methods are overwhelmed.  It may or may not be in conjunction with an underlying mental health issue.  Homesickness and grief are two very common non-clinical sources of distress.

Signs of Distress

  • Change in class attendance
  • Consistently falling asleep in class
  • Change in academic performance (bad grades)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Marked change in personality or habits
  • Depressed mood or lethargy
  • Exaggerated or unusual emotional responses
  • Hyperactivity or rapid speech
  • Behavior that is offensive or interferes with others

Additional Signs Indicating a More Serious Mental Health Crisis

  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Difficulty communication
  • Disorganized thinking or speech
  • Bizarre, eccentric or unusual/high risk behavior
  • Highly disruptive behavior
  • Explosive anger
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Destruction of property
  • Criminal behavior
  • Mention of suicide, death or suicide attempts
  • Mention of harming other

Reaching Out

When a student is in distress there are a variety of ways you can help.  First and foremost, as a friend, family member or another trusted adult, YOU are in the BEST position to reach out. The Counseling Center staff are also available to consult with faculty, staff, family or friends in order tosupport your care and concern for a distressed student.


Offering Resources

It is often helpful to familiarize yourself with campus resources before you reach out.

The Counseling Center

Behavioral Health & Wellness Clinic

Community Counseling Clinic

Student/University Health Services

Undergraduate Success Specialist

Graduate Success Specialist

Bucky’s Food Pantry

Other Resources

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Filing a Care Report

Are you still concerned?  You may want to consider filing a confidential Care Report.

 For more information about the Care Report system

 click to link










Responding to Students in Crisis or Distress

Download link

Urgent vs emergent

 How to respond to a student crisis


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