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Counseling Center

Violent Students

Dealing With a Distressed or Potentially Violent Person

Any member of the Colorado State University Pueblo community may come in contact with a distressed person. Below is a list of warning signs to be aware of when dealing with people who are distressed. The professionals at the Student Counseling Center are available for consultation regarding these issues. Please feel free to call 549-2838.


  • Student Counseling Center 549-2838
  • Dean of Student Life 549-2919
  • Wolfpack Wellness 549-2830
  • Emergency (on-campus) 8-911

    Warning Signs

    • Acting depressed (no motivation)
    • Increased substance abuse
    • Suicidal thoughts or comments
    • Poor concentration
    • Loud confrontational language
    • Physically violent behavior
    • Withdrawal
    • Disorientation
    • Bullies or intimidates
    • Poor hygiene
    • Access to a weapon
    • Verbal or written threats
    • Agitation
    • Forgetfulness
    • Hyperactive
    • Rambling or disconnected speech
    • Preoccupation with death
    • Disruptive
    • Bizarre Behavior
    • Paranoia
    • Harassing or stalking behavior

    Interaction Guidelines

    If you are the first to be in contact with a distressed student, please follow these suggestions:

    -Safety First! Maintain a safe distance and an escape route, should you need it. You may need to call 911 in an emergency or on campus 8-911.

    -Avoid Escalation! Do not assert authority or threaten with demands. Do not touch the student, they can be easily provoked. Try to listen and show support.

    -Don't Ask Specific Questions! Ask general questions. If you know the student's name use their name first and ask questions such as, Are you OK? or Would you like to talk about what's happening to you? Distressed students are relieved that someone has noticed and is paying attention. Overly direct questions may be perceived as a challenge or threat.

    -Be Aware of Your Body Language! Maintain eye contact, respect personal space, minimize body movements, stay in open position (do not cross arms or legs), don't raise your voice, and nod when appropriate.

    -Know Your Limits! Just listening and referring the student for further help may be what is needed of you. Be accepting and nonjudgmental. Commend the student for confiding in you.


    Take Care of Yourself!

    Be Careful not to overextend yourself if you can answer yes to one or more of these warning signs, please confide in someone about the situation.

    • are you stressed or overwhelmed about the situation?
    • are you feeling angry with the student?
    • are you thinking of adopting or rescuing the student?
    • are you relieving similar experiences of your own?


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