The following behaviors can all be important signs of distress. As a member of the UMass Lowell community, you may notice a student exhibiting one or more of the academic, physical or emotional signs and decide that something is clearly wrong. Or you may have a "gut-level feeling" that something is wrong. If the latter is the case, don't dismiss your feelings or feel that you need to wait for tangible "proof" that a problem exists. A simple check-in with the student may help you get a better sense of his/her situation.

ACADEMICAcademic Signs

  • Deterioration in quality/quantity of work
  • Repeated absences from class or from research lab coupled with other signs of distress.
  • Disorganized or erratic performance or behavior
  • Student sends frequent, lengthy, "ranting" or threatening types of emails to professor/TA

PhysicalPhysical Signs

  • A dramatic change in energy level (either direction)
  • Worrisome changes in hygiene or personal appearance
  • Frequent state of alcohol intoxication (i.e., bleary-eyed, hung-over, smelling of alcohol)
  • Noticeable cuts, bruises or burns on student

EMOTIONALEmotional Signs

  • Inappropriate emotional outbursts (unprovoked anger or hostility, sobbing)
  • Exaggerated personality traits; more withdrawn or more animated than usual
  • Expressions of hopelessness, fear or worthlessness.
  • Direct statements indicating distress
  • Peer concern about a fellow student (in class, lab, residence hall, club)

It's possible that any one of these signs, in and of itself, may simply mean that a student is having an "off" day. Please note, any one serious sign (e.g., a student writes a paper expressing hopelessness and/or thoughts of suicide) or a cluster of smaller signs (e.g., emotional outbursts, repeated absence, a noticeable cut on the arm) necessitates an intervention.

If you are not sure if a student’s behavior calls for a STARs referral, please contact the Dean of Students’ Office at 978-934-2100 to discuss your concerns.

NOTE: In cases where a student’s behavior poses an imminent threat to you or another, contact the University Police immediately at Ext. 44-911 or 978-934-2911.