Indicators of Stress

Use the below columns to help you identify a student in distress. Look for groupings, frequency, duration, and severity.

Academic

  • Sudden decline in quality of work and grades
  • Repeated absences 
  • Disorganized performance
  • Multiple requests for extensions
  • Overly demanding of faculty’s or staff’s time and attention
  • Bizarre content in writings or presentations
  • You find yourself providing more personal than academic support

Physical

  • Marked changes in physical appearance (e.g., grooming or hygiene deterioration, weight loss/gain)
  • Excessive fatigue or sleep disturbance
  • Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol
  •  Disoriented or “out of it”
  • Garbled, tangential, disconnected, or slurred speech
  • Behavior is out of context or bizarre
  • Delusions and paranoia

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View the Gold Folder PDF.

Psychological

  • Self-disclosure of personal distress (e.g., family or financial problems, grief, suicidal thoughts)
  • Unusual/disproportionate emotional response to events
  • Excessive tearfulness or panic reactions
  • Irritability or unusual apathy
  • Verbal abuse (e.g., taunting, badgering, intimidation)
  • Concern from peers

Safety Risk

  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Physical violence (e.g., shoving, grabbing, assault, use of weapons)
  • Implying or making direct threat to harm self or others
  • Academic assignments dominated by themes of extreme hopelessness, rage, worthlessness, isolation, despair, acting out, suicidal ideations/violent behaviors
  • Stalking or harassing
  • Communicating threats