This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from one of my college professors. In his room, he had a table reserved as "Australia". If one of his students was having a bad day they could go work at the Australia table for a few minutes until they were feeling better.
This has always worked really well, although there have been a few times I've had some fiendish stare-ers who needed a reminder or two on appropriate flag usage. These work especially well for shy students who might not want to talk about exactly what is bothering them immediately, or for students who need a second to process an eventful lunch recess.
If you're wondering -- Do any of your students want to live in Australia? Do they want to be there every second of every school day? The answer is: of course! When a perma-flag situation arises we have a little chat and figure out what we can do to make life a little happier (for both of us!) :)