Recognizing Behaviors

Recognizing behaviors that indicate an individual might need assistance or intervention

Level 1: Distress

An individual exhibiting these behaviors may need some level of assistance or support.

  • Change from good to poor academic performance or persistent and serious grade problems
  • Change from frequent attendance to excessive absences
  • Change in pattern of interaction in the classroom or among peers
  • Change in mood, motor activity, speech, or physical appearance

Level 2: Disturbance

An individual exhibiting these behaviors may be experiencing emotional difficulties that impedes his/her judgement. This individual may be reluctant to or even completely unaware that he/she should seek professional help.

  • Repeated requests for special consideration in the classroom
  • New and/or continuous interruptions that disrupt and fracture the classroom environment
  • Unusual, inappropriate, and/or exaggerated emotional responses that do not relate to the situation or the experience
Taking Action: Responses to Level 1 and Level 2 Behaviors
  • Calmly talk to the individual in private when you both have time
  • Express your concern in non-judgmental terms
  • Listen to the individual and repeat what he/she says
  • Clarify the pros and cons of each option for handling the problem from the individual’s point of view
  • Respect the individual’s value system
  • Ask if the student is considering suicide
  • Make appropriate referrals if necessary
  • Make sure the individual understands what action is necessary

Level 3: Crisis

An individual exhibiting these behaviors is experiencing severe distress and possibly needs immediate, professional care.

  • Demonstrates hostile, aggressive, and/or violent behavior
  • Communicates in a confusing, garbled, slurred, or disjointed manner
  • Fails to connect with reality as represented by seeing/hearing things that are not there and/or discussing beliefs or exhibiting actions that are counter to reality.
  • Communicates suicidal thoughts as represented by discussing suicide is current option
  • Displays a deficiency to regulate emotional, cognitive, self-controlling behaviors in relationships
Taking Action: Responses to Level 3 Behaviors
  • Remain calm
  • Contact: emergency referrals