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.