Dealing With Other Concerning Behaviors

In cases of potential harm to self or others – for immediate assistance, call 911.

If the individual is a student, feel free to consult with:

  • ASU Counseling Services 480-965-6146 during Business Hours, or EMPACT (480-921-1006) after hours.
  • Then contact Student Rights and Responsibilities Office on your campus:

If the individual is a faculty or staff member, also call the ASU Employee Assistance Office – 480-965f-2271

Signs of Disruptive, threatening or distressed behavior

Note: This is not an all inclusive list

Signs of Disruptive and Threatening Behavior:

  • Verbal or physical threats or active threats of homicide
  • Active threats of suicide and resisting help

Signs of Distressed Behavior

  • Troubled or confused
  • Very sad, anxious, or irritable
  • Expresses hopelessness, worthlessness, fear, or powerlessness
  • Active threats of suicide and resisting help
  • Lacks motivation and/or concentration
  • Deterioration in physical appearance
  • Behavior suggests a loss of contact with reality
  • Expresses thoughts of suicide
  • Expresses thoughts of violent behavior
  • Expresses thoughts of homicide

What is my role?

You might be in a good position to identify someone who may be emotionally distressed. While some of this is expected, especially during stressful times of the year, you may notice someone acting in a way that is inconsistent with your normal experience with that person. You may be able to be a resource in times of trouble, and your expression of interest and concern may be critical factors in helping the individual get connected to important university resources. You also may be able to alert the university so that an appropriate intervention can be made.

Possible Signs of Distress:

  • Excessive absence or tardiness
  • Trouble eating and/or sleeping
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Undue aggressiveness
  • Exaggerated emotional response that is obviously inappropriate to the situation
  • Depressed or lethargic mood
  • Hyperactivity or very rapid speech
  • Marked change in personal hygiene
  • Excessive confusion
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Trouble eating and/or sleeping
  • Dependency (individual hangs around or makes excessive appointments to see you)
  • Behavior indicating loss of contact with reality
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Verbal or written references to suicide
  • Verbal or written references to homicide or assault
  • Isolation from friends, family, or classmates
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Preparing for death by making a will and final arrangements

The DO's:

  • DO speak with the individual privately.
  • DO enlist the help of others as appropriate.
  • DO let him/her know you are concerned about his/her welfare.
  • DO express your concern in behavioral, non-judgmental terms.
  • DO tell him/her you are willing to help.
  • DO listen carefully to what he/she is troubled about.
  • DO help him/her explore options.
  • DO suggest resources.
  • DO make referrals to the appropriate campus department.
  • DO point out that help is available and that seeking such help is a sign of strength and courage, rather than of weakness or failure.
  • DO maintain clear and consistent boundaries and expectations.
  • DO recognize your limits.
  • DO document the interaction or incidents.

The DON'Ts:

  • DON’T promise confidentiality.
  • DON’T judge or criticize.
  • DON’T ignore the unusual behavior.
  • DON’T make the problem your own.
  • DON’T involve yourself beyond the limits of your time or skill.