Recognizing a Bruin in Distress

Report concerns by completing a Bruins Care Concern Form to notify the Counseling Department of non-emergency concerns. In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.

A student in distress might indicate a need for assistance with:

  • Repeated requests for special consideration, extensions, etc.
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses or actions
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities
  • Significant change in physical appearance
  • Declining academic performance
  • Excessive absences, especially if attendance was previously consistent
  • Perfectionism, procrastination, excessive worrying
  • Noticeable change in patterns of interaction (avoiding participation or dominating discussion)

These signs might indicate a student is in severe distress:

  • Depressed mood
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene; swollen, red eyes; falling asleep in class; excessively active and talkative
  • Inability to communicate
  • Garbled, slurred, disjointed or incoherent speech
  • Loss of contact with reality
  • Seeing/hearing things that do not exist
  • Suicidal thoughts or intentions
  • Overtly discussing, joking or hinting that suicide is a current and viable option
  • Highly disruptive behavior in class
  • Homicidal threats
  • Hostile, threatening or violent behavior


If you have a concern, and DO NOT feel comfortable addressing it with the student, simply submit a Bruins Care Concern Form. Once form is submitted, KCC counselors will contact the student.

At times, you may want the counselor to inform the student about your concerns and who made the report. At other times, you may want to remain anonymous to the student. If you want to remain anonymous to the student, please specify that in your report. You DO NOT need to specify a reason why you wish to remain anonymous to the student.

If you wish to speak with a student about your concerns, we recommend you:

  • Talk to the student in private when both of you have time
  • Give the student undivided attention
  • Express your concerns in behavioral terms “
  • Share an observation “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting differently than you usually do and I’m concerned”
  • Listen in a non-judgmental, non-threatening way
  • Communicate your understanding by repeating back the core of what the student has said
  • Avoid judging, evaluating, or criticizing 
  • Respect the student’s value system, even if you disagree
  • NOTE: If at the end of the conversation you feel concerned for the student’s safety, overall well-being, or just think they would benefit from talking to someone else, submit a Bruins Care Concern Form.


You are encouraged to submit a Bruins Care Concern Form to make a referral if students:

  • Do not respond appropriately when you share your concern
  • Exhibit erratic or sudden changes in classroom performance
  • Exhibit uncharacteristic behavioral, mood, attitude or appearance changes
  • Are uncharacteristically inattentive, unresponsive, angry, argumentative or aggressive
  • Disclose mental health concerns and indicate a need for assistance
  • Exhibit behavior that is getting worse

You may also choose to make a referral when you:

  • Feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to proceed
  • Need to talk with someone about your observations or concerns 


  • Let students know that it is not necessary to know exactly what is wrong in order to seek assistance
  • Assure students that seeking help does not mean their problems are unusual or extremely serious
  • Show students how they can seek assistance by using the Bruins Care Concern Form