Oregon State University

Distressed Behavior

An image of a campus street with winter snow on the lawn.

What may be considered distressed behavior?

  • excessive absences
  • hostile, threatening or violent behavior
  • serious grade problems
  • markedly changed patterns of interaction (avoiding participation or dominating discussions)
  • unusual or exaggerated emotional responses
  • withdrawal from activities or friends
  • significant change in sleep or eating patterns
  • perfectionism, procrastination, or excessive worrying
  • depressed mood
  • inability to communicate
  • loss of contact with reality
  • suicidal thoughts or expressions of intention

Does the behavior place anyone at (immediate) risk?

If the behavior is placing someone in immediate risk or if a serious or threatening incident occurs in the classroom, academic building or on campus, Public Safety should be contacted immediately by calling 

If you are unsure about whether or how to intervene with a student who appears to be distressed, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this student's behavior disturbingly out of the ordinary?
  • Is the behavior getting worse?
  • Is this beyond my skill level?
  • Am I feeling like I want to talk with someone about my observations and concerns?

If the answer is "yes" to any of those questions, it is probably a good idea to consult with a colleague. An on-call counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is generally available at 541-737-2131 during business hours to help you evaluate the situation and assist you in considering your options for intervention.

Contact Info

Copyright ©  2014 Oregon State University
Student Conduct and Community Standards
B-058 Kerr Administration
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR  97331
(541) 737-3656