When to Be Concerned

At one time or another, everyone feels depressed or upset. When symptoms of distress are persistent over a long period of time or when they interfere with academic responsibilities and social relationships, it may be a cause for concern. Following is a list of signs and symptoms that may indicate that your friend needs help.  Also see our Helping a Friend brochure.

Physical or Psychological Signs:

  • Deterioration in physical presence or hygiene.
  • Excessive fatigue or sleep difficulties.
  • Visible increase or decrease in weight.
  • Exaggerated personality traits or behaviors (e.g. agitation, withdrawal, lack of apparent emotion).
  • Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility.
  • Irritability, constant anxiety or tearfulness.
  • Marked changes in concentration and motivation.
  • Overtly suicidal thoughts, such as referring to suicide as a current option.
  • Frequently missing classes.

Other Factors to Consider:

  • Direct statements indicating family problems, personal losses such as death of a family member, or the break up of a relationship.
  • Expressions of concern about a student by faculty or staff members.
  • Written note or verbal statement that has a sense of hopelessness or finality.