Recognizing Distressed Students

Tips For Recognizing Distressed Students

At one time or another everyone feels upset or distressed. However, there are three levels of
student distress which, when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are
more than the "typical" ones.

Level 1

  • Changes in academic performance in the classroom
  • Significant drop in examination scores
  • Change in pattern of interaction
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Problems concentrating & remembering things or making decisions

Level 2

  • Repeated request for special consideration
  • New or regularly occurring behavior which pushes the limits and may interfere with class
  • Management or be disruptive to other students, faculty, or staff
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses
  • Persistent sadness or unexplained crying
  • High levels of irritability or inappropriate excitement

Level 3

  • Highly disturbed behavior
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Inability to communicate clearly
  • Irrational conversation or speech that seems disconnected
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
  • Suspiciousness, irrational feelings of persecution
  • Statements related to death or dying or feelings of hopelessness
  • Threats of harming self or harming others

What Can You Do To Help?

For those exhibiting level 1 and 2 behaviors, please complete the UBIT Concern Report Form.
For those exhibiting Level 3 behavior, we ask that you stay calm, find someone to stay with the
person if possible, and immediately call University Police Department at 1000.

Responding To Suicidal Concerns

When a student makes any reference to suicide, threat of suicide, or attempt at suicide, a judgment
should be made by a mental health professional about the seriousness of a possible suicidal thought or behavior. Suicide attempts are first and foremost a medical emergency. If danger or suicidal
behavior appears imminent: 1) Stay calm and 2) Contact University Police Department at 1000.