The following behaviors can all be important signs of distress. As a member of the OBU community, you may notice a student exhibiting one or more of the academic, physical, or emotional signs and decide that something is clearly wrong. Or you may have a "gut-level feeling" that something is wrong. If the latter is the case, don't dismiss your feelings or feel that you need to wait for tangible "proof" that a problem exists. A simple check-in with the student may help you get a better sense of his/her situation.
- Pattern of falling asleep in class or other inopportune times
- A dramatic change in energy level (either direction)
- Worrisome changes in hygiene or personal appearance
- Noticeable cuts, bruises or burns on student
- Inappropriate emotional outbursts (unprovoked anger or hostility, sobbing)
- Exaggerated personality traits; more withdrawn or more animated than usual Expressions of hopelessness, fear or worthlessness; themes of suicide, death and dying in papers/projects
- Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or other difficulties
- Peer concern about a fellow student (in class, lab, residence hall, club)
- Inappropriate behavior towards others (verbal, physical, emotional, etc.)
- Deterioration in quality/quantity of work
- A negative change in classroom or research performance (e.g., drop in grades)
- Missed assignments or exams
- Repeated absences from class or from research lab
- Disorganized or erratic performance
- Decline in enthusiasm in class (e.g., no longer choosing a seat in the front of the room)
- Student sends frequent, lengthy, "ranting" or threatening types of emails to professor
- Continual seeking of special provisions (e.g., late papers, extensions, postponed exams, and projects)
It's possible that any one of these signs, in and of itself, may simply mean that a student is having an "off" day. Please note, any one serious sign (e.g., a student writes a paper expressing hopelessness and/or thoughts of suicide) or a cluster of smaller signs (e.g., emotional outbursts, repeated absence, a noticeable cut on the arm) necessitates an intervention.
NOTE: In cases where a student’s behavior poses an imminent threat to you or another, contact 911 or University Police (405.878.6000) immediately.