The following are some commons signs of basic psychological distress or indicators that students are having a problem with alcohol or drug use.
- A drop in class attendance
- Coming late to class or sleeping in class
- A generally sad or tense appearance
- Inappropriate responses such as talking off the subject or rambling
- Appearing to be hung over
- Having a strong odor of marijuana or alcohol
It is normal to get depressed from time to time. A student who shares a concern about an inability to concentrate, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, a decrease in social activity, or a decrease in grades may be experiencing something more serious.
Unusual Acting Out
Acting out would represent a change in behavior from normal, socially-appropriate behavior and might include being disruptive or overly antagonistic. It may also include increased alcohol or drug use.
Any message that indicates a person “wishes they weren’t there” should be taken seriously. Often students who are feeling suicidal will talk about death or express suicidal feelings in papers or journals.
A student comes into your office and begins to describe problems that are interfering with his/her academic work. What could you do? At a break in the conversation, you might say: “It sounds as though you have been under stress, aren’t doing very well and need to talk to someone about this. What do you think about that?” It might be helpful for you to call someone at the Counseling Center and help the student go through the process of making an appointment.
A student misses classes on Mondays and Fridays, looks disheveled and may occasionally smell like alcohol or pot. What should you do? Contact the Counseling Center to express your concern and discuss ways to intervene. Often, if a student knows someone noticed, it will change his/her behavior.
For more information or consultation:
Call us at (603) 535-2461