Distressed Students

Generally, the behavior of the distressed student causes us concern for the personal well-being of that student, rather than creating a worry for their impact on ourselves or on the classroom. Signs of a student in distress may include the following:

  • Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared work, especially if inconsistent with previous work
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed
  • Dependency (e.g., the student who hangs around or makes excessive appointments during office hours)
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequently falling asleep in class
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene
  • Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions)
  • Report of sexual or physical assault, or the recent death of a friend or family member


Tips for dealing with the distressed student

  • Speak with the student privately and confidentially.
  • Document all conversations.
  • Let the student know that you are aware that they may be feeling down, and that you would like to help.
  • Encourage the student to seek help through The Counseling Center. You may want to offer to let the student call for an appointment from your office, or you may want to walk with the student to the Counseling Center office (D.P. Culp Center, Room 340).

Report to the Counseling Center any instance in which a student confides in you that s/he is considering suicide. Also, call the Counseling Center for consultation and assistance if the student shares other information that is of concern to you. Their number is (423)439-4841.