Midshipmen Development Center

Tips for Recognizing "Troubled" Students

All of us at some time in our lives may have hard days, feel sad, depressed, and/or upset. However, significant distress experienced over a period of time may suggest a more serious problem.

Troubled students may exhibit behaviors which do not disrupt others but may indicate something is wrong and that assistance is needed. Behaviors may include:

  1. Serious grade problems or a change from consistently passing grades to unaccountably poor performance. 
  2. Unusual or markedly changed patterns of interaction, i.e., avoidance of participation, excessive anxiety when called upon, domination of discussions, etc.
  3. Other characteristics that suggest the student is having trouble managing stress successfully e.g., a depressed, lethargic mood; very rapid speech; swollen, red eyes; marked change in personal dress and hygiene; falling asleep during class.

Troubled students may exhibit behaviors that indicate significant emotional distress. They may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help. Behaviors include:

  1. Repeated requests for special consideration, such as deadline extensions, especially if the student appears uncomfortable or highly emotional while disclosing the circumstances prompting the request:
  2. New or repeated behavior which pushes the limits of decorum and which interferes with effective management of the immediate environment.
  3. Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses which are obviously inappropriate to the situation.

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