Students in Distress: A Guide for Tulane Faculty & Staff

Most students adjust to the challenges of college life or graduate school on their own, or with support from family and friends. However, there may be occasions that indicate a need for professional help. Faculty and staff may be in a position to identify students who require additional assistance and refer them to appropriate resources. The information, below, is provided to help faculty and staff with their interactions with students.


Warning Signals of Distress

Students may demonstrate behavior that indicates distress and a need for assistance. A combination of several factors more than a single circumstance is most likely to indicate a problem:


Academic Performance Concerns

  • Uncharacteristic changes in quality of work
  • Declining grades or reduced class participation
  • Incomplete or missing assignments
  • Repeated requests for extensions, incompletes, or withdrawals
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Disruptive classroom behavior
  • Apparent memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Cheating, rule breaking, or defiance
  • Poor organization skills or trouble with note taking
  • Bizarre, aggressive or morbid comments or written content

Physical and Emotional Signals

  • Chronic fatigue, falling asleep in class
  • Symptoms of being easily distracted, "spacey," or a tendency to daydream
  • Nervousness or tearfulness
  • Marked changes in regular habits or activities
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Signs of intoxication, dilated or constricted pupils, or apparent hangovers
  • Comments by others about alcohol or drug use
  • Poor or declining physical appearance, hygiene, and grooming
  • Hyperactivity or rapid, pressured speech
  • Extreme boredom, negativism, defensiveness, and secretiveness
  • Erratic behavior, sudden mood swings, inappropriate anger, hostility, and irritability
  • Hyper-expansiveness or grandiosity
  • Withdrawal from others or loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • Expressions of feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty and/or worthless
  • Self-injury or other self-destructive behavior
  • Talk of suicide or harm to self or others 


If a Tulane student finds it difficult to adjust, we provide a variety of resources designed to help meet his/her needs. Faculty and staff may be in a position to identify situations that indicate the need for professional help and refer students to these resources. The following resources are provided to help faculty and staff provide a safe and healthy learning and working environment for all students.


Office of the Student Resources and Support Services


Student Resources & Support Services (SRSS), which includes the Offices of Student Conduct, Disability Services, and Violence Prevention, was created to give students in need of support a single place to go for assistance. SRSS uses an individualized approach to help students connect to the resources that they may need on campus and in the New Orleans community. SRSS is committed to helping all Tulane students successfully navigate problems that may arise so they can have a successful Tulane experience. SRSS offers services such as:

  • Problem resolution assistance
  • Case management services
  • Victim support services
  • Referral services


Support for friends, family, faculty, and staff

SRSS also know that many times students in need of support turn to peers, friends, faculty/staff members or parents for help. Student Resources & Support Services is also available to help those individuals appropriately support students who have turned to them. 


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)


Psychologists and other counselors are available at CAPS if students need to talk with someone. They can help with issues such as: depression, eating and body image, stress, grief, study/test-taking problems, academic major or career indecision, among other topics. 

  • CAPS offers services such as: 
  • Psychological counseling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples
  • Family therapy, group counseling and therapy
  • Alcohol and drug evaluations/counseling
  • Crisis Services
  • Psychiatric Services


Student Health Services



Student Health Services offers services such as:

  • Medical services
  • Acute care
  • Allergy shots
  • Immunizations
  • Specialty services


Concerned About a Student?

If you are concerned about a student, there are many options available to you depending on the situation and your preference. 

  • You may call CAPS at 504-314-2277 to discuss your concerns with a counselor
  • You may call the Office of Student Resources and Support Services at 504-314-2160
  • Report this concern anonymously through our online concern report function HERE


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Self Care Guide

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