Distressed Student Protocol

Truckee Meadows Community College is dedicated to ensuring that staff, faculty and students work and learn in an environment that is safe, respectful, and responsive to those in distress. This protocol document provides guidance to staff, faculty and students to identify and assist students in distress.

TMCC is committed to providing resources to ensure that a student in crisis is responded to quickly, responsibly and in an empathetic manner. A distressed student may also display disruptive behaviors, which are covered by TMCC’s Student Conduct Policy, and will not be addressed directly by this protocol. This protocol is designed to provide guidance to the campus community. It defines how to:

  • Recognize the signs that a student may be in distress;
  • Establish a consistent framework for responding to the student in distress;
  • Facilitate access to after-care and reintegration to the campus community for the student after the immediate crisis is addressed;
  • Ensure a coordinated crisis response and review process.

The TMCC Counseling Center is also your first point of contact in many of these situations.

Signs of Distress

Students experiencing psychological or emotional distress may exhibit behaviors that would be out of the ordinary for the student and/or considered socially inappropriate or strange. Use of drugs or alcohol may also mirror these symptoms and the distressed student will still benefit from intervention.

Behaviors may include:

  • Repeated or excessive disruptions (hostile or antagonistic behaviors)
  • Inappropriate or exaggerated emotional responses to a given situation including lack of emotional response to a stressful situations
  • Loss of contact with reality including rambling or incoherent speech, laughter that is out of context, visual, tactile or auditory hallucinations
  • Significant decline in academic performance
  • Change in interaction patterns in the class
  • Frequent attempts to obtaining postponement of tests or extensions on assignments that are due

In addition, individuals who are in distress are at greater risk of suicide especially when behaviors are new or have increased, often in response to a recent painful event, including loss or changes.