Counseling Center

Signs of Distress or Disturbance

It is important to note that any single symptom by itself may not indicate the presence of unmanageable stress. Look for combinations of symptoms and overall patterns.

  • A student seems excessively tired, anxious, depressed, irritable, angry, or sad.
  • You notice marked changes in a student's appearance or habits (e.g., deterioration in grooming, hygiene, marked change in weight, hyperactivity or exhaustion, interpersonal withdrawal, acceleration in activity or speech, or change in academic performance and classroom participation and/or attendance).
  • A student seems hopeless or helpless.
  • Use of alcohol or other substances interferes with a student's relationships or work.
  • Report of sexual or physical assault or the recent death of a family member or friend.
  • Emotional over-reaction such as spells of crying, outbursts of anger, over-sensitivity.
  • Excessive ruminations or worry.
  • Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
  • Thoughts or actions that appear bizarre or unusual.
  • Physical complaints of unknown origin (e.g., headaches, skeletal pain, frequent illness).
  • Inability to concentrate or focus, persistent memory lapses, restlessness.
  • Self-mutilating behaviors, including cutting or burning of self.
  • Expressed suicidal or homicidal thoughts.


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