Identify a Student in Distress
Although everyone feels "stressed" at times, excessive stress (i.e. distress) can manifest itself in a number of ways.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
A student may be distressed if any of the following apply to him/her:
- Significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities
- Cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
- Significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities
- Problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) resulting from drinking or drugs.
- Acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
- Acting out of character or differently than usual
- Talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide
- Difficulty concentrating or carrying on normal conversation
- Excessive dependence on others for company or support
- Reports feeling out of control of one's emotions, thoughts, or behaviors
Common Causes of Distress
The following are examples of common causes for a student's distress:
- Family problems or other interpersonal difficulties (conflicts, illness or death of someone important to the student, divorce, abuse)
- Problems with a romantic partner or spouse (sexual problems, communication problems, abuse)
- Financial difficulties (juggling work and school, providing for students, economic hardship in family/country of origin)
- Significant changes in circumstance (adjusting to a new place, new people, and/or a new life situation).
- Academic or work difficulties (trouble getting to work or class, poor grades or performance reviews, over-placement, interpersonal conflicts with authorities or peers)
- Over-commitment, performance anxiety
- A loss or grief, or traumatic event
- Alcohol or drug problems