Care for mental health is an important part of college life. Bakersfield College staff, faculty, students, and community members are influential. When someone is in distress, we have an opportunity to provide care and support. Remember our motto: If you see something, say something, so we can do something. You might be the first to notice that a person is showing certain signs or risk factors. Your care, compassion, and support might be the crucial piece that saves someone's academic career or even their life.
If you have concerns, use this simple rubric as a guide.
Someone In Distress?
Know The Signs Of Distress
Trust your gut. Say something if someone leaves you feeling worried, alarmed, threatened, or scared. The guide below can help you identify distress in a person. People showing these behaviors might be having similar issues in many settings on campus.
Academic Signs of Distress
- Significant decline in quality of work and grades
- Repeated absences
- Bizarre or concerning content in writing, emails, or presentations
- Conversations with students center around personal concerns rather than academics
- Disruptive in class
Physical Signs of Distress
- Changes in physical appearance such as decline in hygiene or grooming, weight loss/gain, or appetite changes
- Fatigue, excessively tired, or sleep issues
- Substance abuse
- Disoriented, confused, difficulty concentrating, or "in a fog"
- Bizarre/slurred speech or thinking patterns
Psychological Signs of Distress
- Disclosure of significant personal issues, such as familial, financial, trauma, grief, suicidal/homicidal ideas
- Excessive tearfulness, panic, irritability, disassociation, or numbness
- Verbal attacks or harassment, such as taunting, intimidation, badgering, or bullying
- Bizarre, magical thinking or student seen excessively laughing or talking to themselves
- Concern expressed by other students, faculty, staff, or family
Safety Risk Factors of Distress
- Unprovoked anger or hostility
- Direct or vague threats to harm self or others
- Unable to care for themselves
- Academic assignments displaying themes of violence, hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, suicidal thoughts, isolation, or provocative statements that could be seen as threatening
- Communicating threats via email, text, phone, or other means
FERPA & Helping Distressed Students
As an educational institution, we are always mindful of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when helping students. Certain communications related to health and safety emergencies are allowed under FERPA.