Fall semester topics

Helping friends or others in distress

Most college students encounter academic, personal, and social stress at some point during their educational experience. This is true at The University of Iowa as well as at other universities. Typically, students cope successfully with the demands of college and the experiences that go along with it, but for some students these difficulties can become overwhelming and unmanageable. Friends are often the first point of contact in obtaining advice and support. Your expression of interest and concern could be critical in helping your friend reestablish emotional equilibrium.

How Can You Tell If Someone is Emotionally Distressed?

At one time or another, everyone feels upset. However, when some of the following are present, significant emotional distress is possibly present:

- Noticeable decline in quality of school performance
- Noticeable signs of depression (e.g., persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, apathy, fatigue, tearfulness, changes in sleep and eating habits, distractibility, sudden weight loss or gain)
- Nervousness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking
- Bizarre behavior or speech
- Extreme or sudden dependency on family or friends
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly
- Comments in letters or emails that arouse concern

Any one of the above signs present in someone does not absolutely indicate serious distress. However, several signs and changes, which are extreme and sudden likely, point to potential mental health concerns. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult a Counseling Service staff member about evaluating the situation and taking the most appropriate steps." Sorce info

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