Identifying At-Risk Students & Tips
At one time or another, everyone feels depressed or
upset. However, there are three levels of student distress which,
when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are more
than the ‘normal’ reactions to life stressors.
Level 1 Distress
Although not disruptive to others in the classroom or
elsewhere, these behaviors in students may indicate that something is
wrong, and that help may be needed:
Serious grade problems.
- Unaccountable change from good to
- Change from frequent attendance to
- Change in pattern of interaction.
- Marked change in mood, motor
activity, or speech.
- Marked change in physical appearance.
Level 2 Disturbance
These behaviors in students may indicate significant
emotional distress, or a reluctance or inability to acknowledge a need
for personal help:
- Repeated request for special
- New or regularly occurring behavior
which pushes the limits and may interfere with class management, or be
disruptive to others.
- Unusual or exaggerated emotional
Level 3 Dysregulation
These behaviors may show that the student is in crisis and
needs emergency care:
- Highly disruptive behavior (hostility, aggression, etc.).
- Inability to communicate clearly
(garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts).
- Loss of contact with reality
(seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds
- Overt suicidal thoughts (suicide is a current option).
- Homicidal threats.
- Individuals deficient in skills that
regulate emotion, cognition, self, behavior, and relationships.
More Tips for Faculty In the Classroom
Create opportunities for connections
in your classroom and work to engage the withdrawn, or socially
- Phrase feedback positively whenever possible.
- During critiques, emphasize the purpose, process, and benefit of them. Seek to normalize the experience by using examples, such as an invited upperclassman’s work.
- Understand that some students lack
basic life skills and are playing catch-up in many areas.
- Identify the Student Success Coaches or the Student Success Center as a resource regarding self-care, stress management, test anxiety, depression, or other pertinent topics.
Outside the Classroom
- Refer students to programs that will help them improve study skills and time management (Student Success Center, Help Center, Math Lab).
- Encourage student involvement in events, campus clubs, or community activities. Contact the Student Activities Coordinator for a list of student organizations and campus activities.
- Inform students with disabilities
about the self-identification process to utilize accommodations. Contact
the Disability Coordinator in the Help Center.
- Engage with students at activities and on campus – they will feel valued!
- Consult with the BIT as needed for feedback. We are here to support the students and you!