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What to Look For

While each distressed person will likely experience a variety of different symptoms, there are some common warning signs. To prevent possible overreaction to a single or an isolated behavior, it is important to look for clusters of signs that appear at approximately the same time or to look for a pattern of continued or escalating concerning behavior.

Since most of your interactions with colleagues will be related to work, this is likely where you will notice the most concerns.

  • Poor attendance
  • Missing deadlines
  • Poor concentration
  • Comments of hopelessness
  • Unusually argumentative
  • Erratic or disruptive behavior
  • Markedly less interest than in the past
  • Strange or disturbing content in emails

Emotional symptoms may be evident. Look for changes that occur quickly and behaviors that are a departure from the individual's normal behaviors.

  • Apathy
  • Decrease in sense of self worth
  • Emotionally withdrawn
  • Impulsivity
  • Demanding behaviors
  • Strange behaviors
  • Poor contact with reality
  • Excessive anger or preoccupation
  • Talk of death
  • Other colleagues express concern

Symptoms of stress and decline often appear physically. The following, combined with other symptoms, should be observed and noted:

  • Troubling change in appearance
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Sloppiness
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping at work
  • Bruises
  • Possession of a weapon, particularly a firearm


Updated 05/02/2014

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