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Troubling Behavior

Troubling behavior is behavior that makes us feel alarmed or worried about our own or others’ well-being. Examples may include:

  • Disheveled appearance or poor hygiene
  • Noticeable change in quality of work
  • Individual appears disoriented
  • Significant change in mood or affect
  • Inappropriate outbursts
  • Bizarre written or verbal statements
  • Inappropriate use of violent themes/subjects
  • Persistent unwanted contact
  • Suspected drug or alcohol abuse
  • References to thoughts/plans of suicide or violence towards self or others

Interventions for troubling behavior:

  • Consult! (e.g., Human Resources, Department Chair, Dean of Students, University Counseling Center, etc.)
  • Initiate a private conversation with the individual about his/her behaviors
  • Refer the individual to appropriate and relevant campus resources (e.g., University Counseling Center, Student Health Service, University Police, Human Resources, etc.)

Examples of verbal engagement:

  • “Susan, it’s seemed like you haven’t left your room much lately, and that your mood has been pretty down.  Can we talk about what’s going on?”
  • “I’m concerned about this email I received last night from you Clay.  I’m having a hard time understanding what you’re trying to express, and some of violent language makes me uncomfortable.  I’d like us to walk over the University Counseling Center to consult with someone who might able to help.”
  • “Kim, your comment after our faculty meeting about wanting to “end it all” due to the stress of tenure causes me great concern for your safety.  I’m wondering if you’re thinking about killing yourself?”