Skip navigation

IONA College Logo | Go to Home Page

quad in front of Cornelia

Distressed Student Decision Tree

Signs of distress may include: excessive absences, plummeting academic performance, self-isolation, notable change in hygiene, significant rapid weight loss, poor behavioral control, interpersonal dependency, signs of substance abuse, allusion/expression of emotional distress.

Do I have a relationship with the student?

Speak directly with the student
  1. Tell the student what you’ve noticed about their behavior that has caused your concern.
  2. Ask open-ended questions and listen to the student’s complete responses.
  3. Express warmth and openness. Avoid appearing alarmed.
  4. Reflect back what the student has said, to communicate that you have heard the student accurately.
Consult a campus resource:
Counseling Center (x2038)
Safety & Security (x2560)
Health Services (x2548)
Residential Life (x2336)
Student Success (x2270)
Off-Campus & Commuter Services (x2243)
Vice Provost & Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life (x2757)

Assess: Is this is an emergency?

  1. Has the student expressed a wish to end his/her life?
  2. Is the student behaving in a threatening or violent manner?
  3. Does the student seem highly agitated or out of touch with reality?
  4. Does anything else about the situation seem threatening or dangerous?
(YES to ANY of these = EMERGENCY)

Bring the student to the Counseling Center (2nd floor Spellman)
Call Safety & Security (x2560)
Though not emergent, is it nonetheless urgent?
  1. Despair
  2. Panic
  3. Disclosure of recent assault, loss or trauma
(YES to ANY of these = URGENT)
Bring the student to the Counseling Center (2nd floor Spellman)
Call Safety & Security (x2560)
Things to say to the student:
  1. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
  2. Who can you talk to about this?
  3. What would help keep you calm and comfortable?
  4. How about we call the Counseling Center together?