Concerned about someone? We can help.
If you notice someone who might need assistance please let us know by completing the Referral Form. We're here to help.
Identifying Concerning Behavior
At one time or another, everyone feels depressed or upset. However, there are three levels of student distress that, when present over a period of time, suggest the student's problems may be more serious.
Although not disruptive to others in your class, these behaviors may indicate that something is wrong and that help may be needed:
- serious grade problems
- unaccountable change from good to poor performance
- change from frequent attendance to excessive absences
- change in pattern of interaction
- marked change in mood, motor activity or speech
- marked change in physical appearance
These behaviors may indicate significant emotional distress or a reluctance or inability to acknowledge a need for personal help:
repeated request for special consideration
- new or regularly occurring behavior that pushes the limits and may interfere with class management
- unusual or exaggerated emotional response
These behaviors usually show that the student is in crisis and needs emergency care:
- highly disruptive behavior (hostility, aggression, etc.)
- inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts)
- loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
- overt suicidal thoughts
- homicidal threats
What you can do to help
Responses to Level 1/2 behavior (see tips above):
- Talk to the student privately when you both have time.
- Express your concern in nonjudgmental terms.
- Listen to the student and repeat the gist of what the student is saying.
- Clarify the costs and benefits of each option for handling the problem from the student's point of view.
- Respect the student's value system.
- Ask if the student is considering suicide.
- Make appropriate referrals if necessary.
- Make sure the student understands what action is necessary.
Responses to Level 3 behavior:
- Stay calm.
- call 911 or the UB Police Department at 410.837.4444
- once the student is in the safety of a professional, share the information about the incident with the Office of Community Life Compass so a trained support coach can follow-up and make sure the student has access to available resources.
Circumstances beyond the help you can provide
Although a student may ask for your help with a problem and you are willing to help, certain circumstances may require you to suggest other resources:
- The help needed is not your expertise.
- Personality differences may interfere with your ability to help.
- You know the student personally (friend, neighbor, friend of a friend) and think you may not be objective enough to help.
- The student is reluctant to discuss the situation with you.
- You see little progress in the student.
- You feel overwhelmed or pressed for time.
Gatekeeper Training is one resource available to provide information to the UB community about recognizing and responding to student in distress. The online gatekeeper training options include the following topics:
- At-Risk College Students: “How do I help a distressed student I’m concerned about?”
- At-Risk LGBTQ on Campus: “How can I help create a non-discriminatory environment for LGBTQ students?”
- At-Risk Veterans on Campus: “How can I better understand and support student veterans/military personnel?”
All gatekeeper training programs may be accessed through your MyUB portal on the left hand side, under tutorials.