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Diffusing Distressed and Disruptive Individuals


American College Health Association 2006, **NACUA, 2005 ... Red Flags, Warning Signs and Indicators. Writing, reading content. Anger problems. Loner ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Diffusing Distressed and Disruptive Individuals

Diffusing Distressed and Disruptive Individuals

Learning Outcomes For This Presentation
  • Increase awareness for the SMU community
    regarding warning signs of potential violence
  • Increase awareness of techniques for diffusing
    disruptive and distressed individuals
  • Increase awareness of the risks associated with
    ignoring, excusing or covering up disruptive

Overview National Trends of College Mental Health
  • 42 of students over the past 12 months at times
    felt so depressed that it was difficult to
  • 9 of students seriously contemplated suicide
  • 1.5 of college students attempted suicide
  • 1100 college and university students committed
    suicide annually
  • 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10 24
  • 3 fold increase in the use of psychotropic
    medications from 1987 1996 and the upward trend
  • American College Health Association 2006,
  • NACUA, 2005
  • National Longitudinal Study of

What Does This Mean for a Campus Community?
  • More distressed and distressing students are
    attending colleges and universities.
  • These students present unique challenges and
    require additional services and can be difficult
    to work with.

The Challenge of Working with Distressed and
Disruptive Individuals
  • Responding to difficult individuals can bring up
    a wide range of feelings know what pushes your
  • Violence cannot be easily predicted. The most
    consistent factor is a previous history of

APA Statement on Prediction of Dangerousness
  • Psychiatrist have no special knowledge or
    ability with which to predict dangerous behavior.
    Studies have shown that even with patients in
    which there is a history of violent acts,
    predictions of future violence will be wrong for
    two out of every three patients.

Red Flags, Warning Signs and Indicators
  • Writing, reading content
  • Anger problems
  • Loner
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Acting out
  • Mental health history related to dangerousness
  • Expressionless face
  • Paranoia
  • Non-compliance with disciplinary problems
  • Victim/martyr self concept
  • History of violence

Potential Causes of Disruptive/Aggressive Behavior
  • Natural disasters
  • Acute paranoid delusions
  • Organic brain syndrome/brain trauma
  • Bipolar manic states
  • Character disorders (lack of guilt, empathy,
    entitled, immediate gratification
  • Alcohol or drug use

Non Violent Crisis Intervention
  • Model for this training was condensed from a
    12 hour training program developed and presented
    by the National Crisis Prevention Institute.

Crisis Development Points of Intervention
What Is The Individual Doing and How Can You
  • Behavioral Level
  • 1. Anxiety
  • 2. Defensiveness
  • 3. Acting out
  • 4. Tension reduction
  • Interventions
  • 1. Support
  • 2. Direct
  • 3. Protect
  • 4. Rapport

General Guidelines for Interacting With
Distressed Students
  • Do not get defensive, make excuses or disagree
  • Talk slowly, calmly, deliberately
  • Both sit or both stand
  • Remember the importance of nonverbal
  • Disarm by finding some truth in what the person
    is saying and using empathetic statements

Tips for Meeting the Challenge
  • Be prepared with a safety plan for the office and
  • Be aware of your limitations and your strengths.
  • Build confidence by learning and practicing
    verbal and nonverbal interventions to help defuse
  • Learn to use breathing to help you relax in a
    situation and to calm yourself if you are angry
    or afraid in response to the complaints or threats

If you have any further questions or concerns
about disruptive individuals, call the SMU
Counseling Center at 438-4513,438-4371 or
438-4554. You can also contact the Dean of
Students, Melanie Richardson and she can review
your concern with the Risk Assessment Team.
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