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Faculty and Staff


It can be overwhelming when you are faced with a situation with a student that is out of your comfort zone or training.

It can also be hard to know what to do, especially if you have a strong working relationship with the student or that student has confided in you.

The goal of 974-HELP is to create a way for faculty, staff, students, and parents to express their concerns and reach out for support for the student, whether undergraduate and graduate. Each call is handled with the utmost concern, is evaluated and assessed, and results in appropriate action being taken on an individual basis.

Note: If the student is disruptive and/or inappropriate in class and this behavior is interfering with teaching and studying, you can fill out an incident report through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. We understand that reporting a student to Student Conduct may feel uncomfortable or as if you are getting that student in trouble. Reporting to Student Conduct may be the best step to get your student the help they need and to protect the learning environment of the other students in the class.

Signs that a student may be distressed or is struggling

  • 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)
  • Isolating self from others
  • Withdrawing from friends or social events and 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 nonstop)
  • 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 prevents completion of 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.
  • 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)

A student 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)
  • Displays stalking behaviors (overly focused behavior on an individual; following an individual physically or via social media; excessively contacting an individual when told not to do so; constant need or desire to approach an individual; giving unwanted gifts to an individual)
  • Has been sexually assaulted or is experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking

What You Can Do

  • If you are concerned or worried for a student, observe a behavior that makes you uncomfortable, or you feel like a student may harm themselves or others, you can call 974-HELP for support. 974-HELP provides help and support to all students, enabling them to succeed and thrive while at the University of Tennessee.
  • If a student’s behavior is an imminent threat to themselves 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 a student’s well-being and safety call 974-HELP (4357).

We keep the identity of those who call 974-HELP private unless you express that you want the student to know that you reached out to us. Please be aware 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.

Please Note: Once we meet with a student we may be limited in our ability to share information due to FERPA regulations.