Self-Care Toolkit

Read on to learn how to recognize what distress looks like, react in a healthy way, and know what resources are available.


Look at the indicators of distress below and consider clusters, frequency, duration, and severity — not just symptoms. When indicators are neglected, these feelings can easily lead to ineffective coping and other serious consequences. You may feel alone, isolated, and even hopeless when faced with life’s current challenges and may need encouragement, a listening ear, kindness, advocates to help you communicate your needs, and privacy. If you feel distressed, the following indicators may help you recognize the signs.

Safety Risk Indicators

  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Making direct or indirect threats of harm to self or others
  • Stalking or harassing
  • Threatening emails, phone calls, or other forms of correspondence
  • Thinking of suicide or death
  • Physical violence, fighting, shoving, grabbing, assault, use of a weapon
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, isolation, revenge, despair, violence, and/or suicidal ideation

Psychosocial Indicators

  • Unusual or disproportional emotional response to events
  • Excessive tearfulness, panic reactions, irritability or apathy, hostility, and/or impulsiveness
  • Self-disclosure of personal issues like financial difficulties, family or relationship problems, contemplating suicide, and losses
  • Expressions of concern shared by peers
  • Verbal aggression (e.g., taunts, badgers, or intimidates others)
  • Delusions and paranoia
  • Alcohol and drug abuse; substance abuse at the workplace; frequently calling out sick; poor work performance

Victimization Indicators

  • Uncomfortable working with a particular individual or groups on projects
  • Expresses fear of another individual
  • Visible bruises on face or body
  • Sudden change in demeanor
  • Overt reaction to topics of physical or sexual abuse
  • Communication implies or indicates that there may have been sexual assault, stalking, hazing, bullying, a hate crime, or any other form of physical violence


Anyone can get upset or distressed, and this document will help you identify the most helpful things to do to ensure a satisfactory and supportive outcome. All situations are different, and this is only a guide.

Follow the chart below to determine what to do when faced with distress.

Is immediate assistance needed for any reason?

  • I have no concern for the immediate safety for myself or others, but there are significant personal issues and some support or additional resources are needed.
  • See the Resources section of this guide to learn about helpful resources.
  • The individual’s conduct is clearly and imminently reckless, disorderly, dangerous, or threatening and is suggestive of harm to self or others.
  • Call 911. Inform your supervisor if the individual is a co-worker.
Not Sure
  • I’m feeling distress, but I’m not sure how serious it is.
  • Call the EAP at 855-410-7628 or dial 211 any time.

Helpful Suggestions

  • Don’t dismiss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Identify safety and self-care strategies
  • Document/journal about all incidents and attempts to resolve the situation
  • Don’t assume that the situation will resolve itself on its own
  • Talking to someone about feelings of suicide or death may help you to feel understood and give you helpful strategies
  • Consult with a trusted person
  • Think about who is in your support system who could help. There are people and resources available to you. 


Free After-Hours Crisis Support

(insurance and co-pays may apply)

On-Campus Resources

Other Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about the EAP

Is the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) confidential? Will my supervisor or co-workers find out I’ve talked to the EAP?
The EAP is completely confidential.

Who is eligible to use the EAP?
The EAP is available to all faculty, staff, and their family members.

How many EAP visits can I get?
Each covered individual is eligible for up to five free visits to the EAP.

What happens if I use all of my EAP visits?
The EAP will refer the patient to a provider who is covered under the employee’s health plan.

Do I have to go to an office to visit the EAP?
No. The EAP has telehealth appointments available. All you need to do is call them at 855-410-7628.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for Employees and Their Families: 855-410-7628