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Mental Health Steps

Every person experiences distress. It is important for OSU students and employees to recognize signs of distress and take appropriate action. Signs of distress may include:


  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or falling asleep in class or at work.
  •  Poor attendance at class or work.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene, appearance, or behavior.
  • Isolation from others. 
  • Impaired speech or garbled, disjointed thoughts.
  • Threat of harming self or others.
  • Behavior that regularly interferes with the normal activities of the classroom or workplace.
  • Overtly suicidal statements.
  • High levels of irritability.
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse.
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain.
  • Bizarre or strange behavior obviously inappropriate to the situation (e.g., talking to invisible people).
  • Emotions (e.g., fearfulness, tearfulness, or nervousness) displayed to an extreme degree or for prolonged periods.
  • Excessive procrastination or very poorly prepared work, if consistent with previous work.

Suicide Intervention 

Suicide attempts and suicidal ideation are not uncommon occurrences on college campuses. Typical warning signs of suicidal ideation include:


  • Overtly suicidal statements (e.g., "I won't be around next week," "I just can't go on anymore.").
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Radical change in behavior.
  • Ambivalence about the future.

If you observe a student or employee in extreme distress (e.g., you believe they are an immediate danger to themselves or others), dial 911. The police will respond and summon counseling staff and additional emergency personnel as required.


STUDENTS in non-emergent distress should visit University Counseling Services (316 Student Union, 744-5472).


EMPLOYEES in non-emergent distress should visit the Employee Assistance Program (Seretean Wellness Center, 744-6415).


The staff at University Counseling Services (UCS) is available for phone consultations regarding student behavior and assistance making student referrals. If you have questions or concerns about the behavior of a person or you are simply unsure if a behavior is cause for further action, contact UCS staff for guidance.


Students or employees believed to be at possible risk for violent or suicidal behavior, but not an imminent threat, may be referred to the OSU Threat Assessment Team which evaluates threatening students and employees and determines courses of action. To report a concern to the Threat Assessment Team, contact the OSU Police Department at 744-6523.

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