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Red Folder

Responding to students in distress

 

The Red Folder initiative is a guide to help faculty, staff and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed student at UW-Parkside.

Recognize

These are the most common signs of distress. Students may present with signs that are not listed.

 

Sudden decline in quality of work and grades


Frequently missed classes and assignments


Disturbing content in writing or presentations


Classroom disruptions


Consistently seeking personal rather than professional advice


Multiple requests for extensions or special considerations (a change from prior functioning)


Doesn't respond to repeated requests for contact or meetings


Academic assignments dominated by themes of extreme hopelessness, helplessness, isolation, rage, despair, violence or self-harm

Self-disclosure of personal distress like family problems, financial difficulties, assault, discrimination or legal difficulties


Unusual or disproportionate emotional response to events


Excessive tearfulness, panic reactions


Verbal abuse like taunting, badgering or intimidation


Expression of concern about the student by peers

Marked changes in physical appearance like poor grooming or hygiene or sudden changes in weight


Strange or bizarre behavior indicating loss of contact with reality


Visibly intoxicated or smelling of alcohol or marijuana


Rapid speech or manic behavior


Depressed or lethargic mood or functioning 


Observable signs of injury like facial bruising or cuts

Verbal, written or implied references to suicide, homicide, assault or self-harm behavior


Unprovoked anger or hostility


Physical violence like shoving, grabbing, assaulting or use of a weapon


Stalking or harassing 


Communicating threats or disturbing comments in person or via email, text or phone call

Respond

Use these important tips to determine the most appropriate response for a distressed student.

Stay safe
If there is an imminent danger to you, the student, or someone else, call 911.

Take your time.
If this is not an imminently dangerous situation, take time to listen to the student's concerns and how you might be able to help.

Stay calm
Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. Use a calm voice when talking and asking questions.

Use active listening
Make eye contact, give your full attention. Restate what the student says to make sure you understand what is causing the distress, and/or what they are asking for help with.

Ask direct questions
Don't be afraid to directly ask the student if they are having thoughts of harming themselves or others. By asking, you are not instilling the thought.

Refer
Connect the student with the appropriate campus resource(s) for additional support.

Refer

Does the student need immediate assistance?

YES
 

The student’s conduct is clearly reckless, disorderly, dangerous or threatening and suggestive of immediate harm to self or others in the community.

What to do:
  •  Is there an imminent danget to you, the student, or someone else? Call 911
  • Report the concern

I'm Not Sure

Signs of distress are visible but the severity is unclear. The interaction has left you feeling uneasy or concerned about the student and you’re not sure how to proceed.

What to do:

  • Consult with Student Health and Counseling on how best to support the student.

NO
 

I’m not concerned for the student’s immediate safety but they are having significant academic and/or personal issues and could use support.

What to do:
  • See our list of campus resouces below to connect the student with support on campus.

Resources

MR_PoliceHiring

University Police

(262) 595-2455
Tallent Hall 188
police@uwp.edu

On-Campus Emergencies: (262) 595-2911

SHCC_720x405

Student Health and Counseling Center
262-595-2366
East of Tallent Hall
shcc@uwp.edu

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