Students in Distress/Crisis

Students in distress can range from excessive absences, changes in patterns of interaction, marked changes in physical appearance, to intoxication, tearfulness, expressions of hopelessness and hostility or aggression.

Tips for Advising this Population

All students experience stress and life’s “ups and downs” but significant distress experienced over a period may suggest a more serious problem. There are many indicators of distress and levels of distress.  Distress can range from excessive absences, changes in patterns of interaction, marked changes in physical appearance, to intoxication, tearfulness, expressions of hopelessness and hostility or aggression.

  • If possible, gather information before you intervene.  Knowing where to refer a depressed or anxious student ahead of time might save time and increase the student’s confidence in you.
  • If you are concerned about safety or about anyone’s behavior being misinterpreted, ask your supervisor or a trusted colleague to join you and explain why to the student.
  • Be honest and direct; it is often best to talk in concrete terms about what is happening.
  • Respect the student’s value system and culture.
  • Communicate with kindness, concern, and empathy.
  • Follow up –Recognize that the student may not immediately welcome or act on your interventions but you may plant a seed.
  • Consult with other professionals about your concerns.

Referring Students

If the interaction has escalated to the point where either student or staff safety is threatened, call 911 immediately.

The Office for Student Affairs Care Manager is here to provide coordinated care, support, and resources to students as they navigate the University and pursue their academic and personal goals. The Care manager works to foster student development and well-being by offering a supportive, personalized response when difficulties arise.

To refer students to the Office for Student Affairs Care Manager or the Behavioral Consultation Team please call (612)-625-2517 or complete an online referral form.

Further Resources