Health Education & Wellness



College can be a fun, exciting, and wonderful experience, but it can also be challenging, overwhelming, and stressful. College may be the first time many students experience being on their own, being away from their support system (whether it be friends or family), making their own decisions, and feeling stress, anxiety, or depression. Many students do not know how to reach out for help or where to turn to for support. If you are concerned or worried for a fellow Vol, observe a behavior that makes you uncomfortable, or you feel like a fellow Vol may harm themselves or others, 974-HELP is where you can call for support. The goal of 974-HELP is to provide help and support to all students to enable them to succeed and thrive while at the University of Tennessee.


How Do You Know When a Student is Struggling?

Here are some signs that a student may be “distressed” or struggling:
Academic Changes:

  • Missing assignments, homework, and tests
  • Numerous or excessive absences
  • Disruptive behavior in class or behavior changes
  • Performance changes (involved to detached behavior in class; passing to failing grades; calm or quiet to verbal or irritable demeanor)

Behavioral or Emotional Challenges and Changes:

  • Isolating self from others
  • Withdrawing from friends or social events/commitments
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Tearfulness or becoming easily upset
  • Changes in sleep (not sleeping at all or sleeping all the time)
  • Changes in eating (not eating at all or eating non-stop)
  • Increased drinking or drug use that is interfering with ability to complete daily tasks
  • Bizarre changes in behavior (irrational thinking, euphoric thinking or behavior, hearing things or seeing things that are not there)
  • Disruptive behavior (aggressive, argumentative, irrational)
  • Anxiety or depression that keeps student from completing daily tasks such as going to class, eating, sleeping, socializing, and connecting to others
  • Incoherent speech (not able to understand or follow)
  • A “not caring” attitude toward life, grades, friends, family, etc

Physical Characteristic Changes:

  • Decline or change in hygiene
  • Not showering
  • Wearing same or dirty clothes
  • Not caring about appearance (not shaving, brushing hair, or applying makeup as before)

Students Who May Need Immediate Assistance:

  • Exhibits self-harming behaviors (cutting, burning, scarring)
  • Has suicidal thoughts or attempt (wanting to take own life or thinking everyone would be better if gone, has attempted to harm self)
  • Has thoughts of harming others (direct or indirect)
  • Is involved in an unhealthy relationship (emotionally, physically or sexually abusive)
  • Demonstrates stalking behaviors (overly focused behavior on an individual; following student physically or via social media; excessively contacting student when told not to do so; constant need/desire to approach student,; giving unwanted gifts to student)
  • A student who has been sexually assaulted or who is experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking

What You Can Do:

  • If student’s behavior is an imminent threat to him/herself or others (direct plan to harm self or others or cannot be left unsupervised due to behavior) CALL 911
  • If there is no immediate threat, but you are concerned for the student’s well-being and safety, call 974-HELP(4357)
  • We keep the identity of those who call 974-HELP anonymous to the student unless you express that you want the student to know that you reached out to us. Please know that sometimes students only tell a few people what they are struggling with, so they may be able to figure out on their own who called to report a concern.



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The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System