Faculty & Staff Support

Find information here on how to support students in distress. To request a presentation, complete the request form.

Concerned about a student? Complete the SOS form and a member from our team will reach out.

Complete the SOS form

Recognize Signs of Distress

Are you concerned for a student? Recognize the signs of distress.


  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Disproportionate responses
  • Disorientation


  • Sudden decline in performance
  • High-absenteeism
  • Non-responsive
  • Inappropriate disruptions


  • Concerning communication via email
  • Inappropriate outbursts
  • Erratic mannerisms
  • Dissociation with reality


  • Poor hygiene
  • Dramatic weigh change
  • Ongoing appearance of illness
  • Visible signs of bruising/cuts


Learn or refresh your skills on how to engage with a student in distress.

Know Your Role

  • Consult never counsel. Your role is to acknowledge concerns and provide empathy, not to provide therapy.
  • Refer. The objective of acknowledging concerns is to identify appropriate referrals.
  • Safety first. Credible or urgent concerns for your safety or the safety of a TU community member should always be directed to TUPD or BCPD at 410-704-4444 or 911.


  • Be proactive. It is better to engage early when solutions and support are most effective.
  • Use a calm tone and communicate concerns. Be direct about your concerns, focus on facts, avoid judgment.
  • Provide empathy and convey hope. Offer a supportive presence to ensure a student feels understood.
  • Set boundaries and refer as early as possible. “Know your role.”

Sample Language

  • “I've noticed ___, I’m concerned and wanted to check in. Help me understand what's going on.”
  • “You've mentioned that you are struggling with ___, I have a friend in Student Outreach & Support who can help. Is it ok if I connect you two?”
  • “I appreciate that ___ is challenging, but it’s never too late to seek help. There are many people at Towson who can support you.”


Help connect a student to the right person to get them back on track.

Referral Concern Contact Information
Counseling Center

Non-life threatening mental health concern


Student Outreach & Support

Long-term illness/injury

Basic needs

General concern



Office of Student Accountability & Restorative Practices

Disruptive behavior

Academic integrity

Code of Student Accountability violation


Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity

Sexual/gender based harassment





Frequently Asked Questions

We encourage faculty to work directly with their students for absences lasting less than a week.

No. If a student presents you with documentation please consider their absence in accordance with your syllabus.

SOS is a voluntary resource. While we guarantee that we will always reach out to students, we cannot guarantee that they will connect with our office or take advantage of our support.

It is often helpful to file a report as an FYI and request that no outreach is needed at this time. Reports like this can help our office establish a pattern of behavior that might be presenting in different areas across campus.

Direct them to the Foodshare Program, Towson University’s on campus food pantry.

Take the online Kognito training provided to Towson University in partnership with the Counseling Center.