Common Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Distress

Molloy students have many challenges to deal with during their college experience. In addition to academic stress, there may be other stressors such as being away from home, developing new relationships, handling the responsibilities of independent living, making decision about a major, and career planning.

Stressors often manifest as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol and other drug abuse, and poor academic performance.  Early identification of such issues can be an important factor in keeping our students safe while helping them reach their full potential.

Common stressors that cause distress:

  • Interpersonal relationships problems such as conflicts, illness/death of a loved one, divorce, abuse, romantic partner, family, parents etc.
  • Financial difficulties
  • Environmental adjustments, leaving home
  • Academic difficulties
  • Time management and organization difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Traumatic event
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders

How to identify Students in Distress
Is there signs of academic concern?

  • Inability to complete class assignments, or meet responsibilities as students or expectations as  student- athletes, student-workers
  • Inappropriate classroom, workplace, or team behavior, including being disruptive or uncooperative, demanding, habitually sleeping in class, making irrelevant, nonsensical, threatening and/or bizarre comments, interrupting lecturer, being unable to sit still and/ or stop talking
  • Excessive absences, missing exams, missing work or team practices
  • Disturbing content in writing or presentations (e.g., extremes of hopelessness, social isolations, anger, rage, despair, suicide or death)
  • You find yourself doing more personal rather than academic counseling during office hours

Is there signs of physical concern?

  • Deterioration in physical appearance including deterioration in grooming, hygiene
  • Wearing odd or bizarre clothing
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue/ sleep disturbance/poor concentration
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse (red or swollen eyes, disorientation, smelling of alcohol)
  • Self-injurious behavior behavior

Is there signs of psychological concern?

  • Direct Direct statements by student of their intention to harm themselves or others
  • Direct or indirect statements that suggest hopelessness or worthlessness, and/or suicidal or homicidal ideation
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress that could include family problems, financial difficulties, grief, sexual abuse, domestic violence, being stalked, sexual assault, hate crimes, eating disorders, substance abuse, panic attacks, phobias, and/ or depression
  • Tearfulness
  • Excessive worry, anxiety, fear, or panic
  • Change in relationships (e.g., withdrawn, more animated than usual, excessive dependence on others) others)

Is there signs of safety concern?

  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Making implied or direct threats to harm self or others
  • Exhibiting erratic or unusual behavior
  • Peer expressions of concern
  • A gut-level reaction that something is wrong