Signs a Student Is in Distress

Signs a Student Is in Distress

Look for noticeable changes in mood, behavior, and/or academic performance. Trust your gut—if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.


  • Missing classes, assignments, and/or exams
  • Quality of work declining
  • Repeated need for extensions and/or excused absences
  • Morbid or disturbing content in written exams or notes


  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Extreme weight loss or weight gain
  • Strange or odd behavior
  • Excessive anxiety or panic
  • Frequent illness
  • Noticeable cuts or bruises


  • Anger or irritability
  • Lack of responsiveness to outreach
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Direct statements indicating distress, including expressions of hopelessness
  • Reports from other students that a student is struggling

The following pages identify specific types of concerns and give examples of some resources on campus that are available to assist you and your students. Many of these offices address multiple issues. The most important thing is getting the student connected to any of these resources.