Student and Faculty in ClassroomWhat Should I Be Concerned About?


The following behaviors can all be important signs of distress. As a staff, faculty or a peer, 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 amiss. 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.


Academic signs


Note: Academic Integrity Violation: While a student's distress or mental anguish should not serve as an excuse for an academic integrity violation, the existence of an academic integrity violation may certainly signal a high level of personal distress.


Physical signs


Emotional signs


It's possible that any one of these signs, in and of itself, may simply mean that a student is having an "off" day. Consider consulting with a colleague, supervisor, associate dean, or other trusted member of the USF community to share your observations, and discuss options for response.

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.

If you are not sure if a student’s behavior calls for a SOCAT referral, please contact the Student Affairs Case Manager (813-974-6130 or to discuss your concerns.


NOTE: In cases where a student’s behavior poses an imminent threat to you or another, contact USF Police immediately at 911.

[* adapted with permission from Cornell University’s Gannet Health Services on 2/24/10]