Student Distress

Critical Student Behavioral Situations

If you have information that suggests a student may pose a serious risk of harm to self or others, please contact the Dean of Students office at 529-1877 or in an emergency, contact the University Police at 911.

Recognizing Students in Distress

While there is great variety in the ways in which students show distress, the following are common signs:

  • A student communicates an intention to harm themselves or others through any medium.
  • Marked and sudden drop in academic performance or class attendance.
  • Disruptive or atypical behavior including social withdrawal or isolation.
  • Sudden and marked drop, elevation, or fluctuation in energy level or mood.
  • Marked changes in physical appearance/hygiene.
  • Signs of substance abuse.
  • Presence of marked dysfunction in major life areas including academics, sleeping, eating, health, relationships, etc.  

Responding to a Student in Distress

Faculty and staff are encouraged to approach a student they think may be experiencing distress and express their care and willingness to help the student seek appropriate assistance. The staff of the Student Counseling Service (529-4634) is available to provide consultation to any member of the Miami community as to how to evaluate and proceed in such situations. If your department or organization wishes to receive more in-depth training on how to recognize and respond to a student in distress, a one-hour Campus Assistance Program training can be arranged through contacting the Director of the Student Counseling Service (529-4634). Minimally, faculty and staff who think a student is experiencing significant distress should pass this information on to the office of the Dean of Students (529-1877) or, if an emergency, to contact the Miami University Police at 911.

The Dean of Students co-chairs the Care Team, a sub-group of the Miami Institutional Response Team (IRT) , which evaluates and responds when there is concern that a student may pose a risk of substantial harm to the student or to others or to property.