Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Signs of Distress

Academic Changes

  • Missing assignments, homework, and tests
  • Numerous or excessive absences
  • Disruptive behavior in class or other behavioral changes
  • Performance changes:
    • An involved student becomes detached
    • A student goes from passing to failing grades
    • A calm, quiet student becomes verbal, agitated, and irritable

Behavioral and Emotional Changes

  • Isolating self from others
  • Withdrawing from friends or social events and commitments
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Tearfulness or becoming easily upset
  • Changes in sleep (not sleeping at all or sleeping all the time)
  • Changes in eating (not eating at all or eating nonstop)
  • Increased drinking or drug use that is interfering with ability to complete daily tasks
  • Bizarre changes in behavior (irrational thinking, euphoric thinking or behavior, hearing or seeing things that are not there, paranoia)
  • Disruptive behavior (aggressive, argumentative, irrational)
  • Anxiety or depression that prevents completion of daily tasks such as going to class, eating, sleeping, socializing, and connecting to others
  • Incoherent speech (not able to understand or follow)
  • A “don’t care” attitude toward life, grades, friends, family, etc.
  • Self-harming behaviors (cutting, burning, scarring)
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
    • “Better off dead” thoughts
    • Expressed plan
  • Thoughts of harming others (direct or indirect)
  • Not caring about appearance
  • Decline or change in hygiene
  • Stalking behaviors (overly focused behavior on an individual, following an individual physically or via social media, excessively contacting an individual when told not to do so, constant need or desire to approach an individual, giving unwanted gifts to an individual)
  • Distressing comments on social media
  • Inappropriate emotional outbursts

Situational Stressors

  • Academic probation
  • Loss of support/friend group
  • Loss of a loved one or pet
  • End of a relationship
  • Loss of scholarships
  • Roommate conflict
  • Homelessness
  • Financial or familial hardships
  • Involvement in an unhealthy relationship (emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive)*
  • A sexual assault, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking*

* If you or a fellow Vol have experienced a sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, call the Office of Title IX at 865-974-9600 for support.


Need Help or Still Not Sure?