Red Folder

Recognize, Respond, Refer

Message to Faculty and Staff

When faced with academic and life challenges, students may feel alone, isolated, and even hopeless. These feelings can easily disrupt academic performance and may lead to diminished coping abilities and other serious consequences.

As a faculty or staff member you may have frequent and prolonged contact and be the first person to notice a student in distress. As fellow members of the CU Denver community, it is important that we respond with compassion.

Keep in mind students exhibiting concerning behaviors may be experiencing difficulties in other areas of their lives. Students sometimes feel they can’t share their struggles with family and friends but may be comfortable doing so with faculty or staff voluntarily, or you might notice a concern first. By expressing concern, you may help save a student’s academic career or even their life. Faculty and staff are in a unique position to demonstrate care and compassion for students in distress.

Indicators that faculty and staff may need to intervene include (but are not limited to): Feeling uncomfortable about a student’s comments or behavior, concern about a student’s safety or their ability to function, and/or feeling alarmed or frightened.

Recognize

Most Common Referral Identifiers


  • Behavioral or emotional changes

  • Withdrawal or isolation

  • Change in hygiene or appearance

  • Decline in class attendance
  • Excessive or inappropriate anger

  • Bizarre thoughts or behavior

  • Expressing suicidal statements

  • Disclosing housing or financial difficulties

We can further delineate identifiers into common categories:

  • Sudden decline in quality of work and grades

  • Repeated absences

  • Disorganized work

  • Multiple requests for extensions

  • Overly demanding of faculty or staff’s time and attention

  • Bizarre content in writings or presentations

  • You find yourself providing more personal than academic support
  • Marked changes in physical appearance (e.g., grooming or hygiene deterioration, weight loss/gain)

  • Excessive fatigue or sleep disturbance

  • Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol

  • Disoriented or “out of it”

  • Garbled, tangential, disconnected, or slurred speech
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress (e.g., family or financial problems, grief, suicidal thoughts)

  • Unusual/disproportionate emotional response to events

  • Excessive tearfulness or panic reactions

  • Irritability or unusual apathy

  • Verbal abuse (e.g., taunting, badgering, intimidation)

  • Concern from peers

  • Behavior is out of context or bizarre
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility

  • Physical violence (e.g., shoving, grabbing, assault, use of weapons)

  • Implying or making direct threat to harm self or others

  • Academic assignments dominated by themes of extreme hopelessness, rage, worthlessness, isolation, despair, acting out, suicidal ideations/violent behaviors

  • Stalking or harassing

  • Communicating threats

Respond


You’ve identified a student in distress and you’re concerned. Next, it’s important to appropriately respond. Whether it’s to a student you interact with frequently and know quite well, or a student you don’t know well at all, it’s still important to respond with care and compassion.


Tip:
These are meant to be general guidelines rather than a checklist to follow for every situation. Some of these can’t be directly carried over in a virtual setting; however, the spirit of these guidelines can be maintained over the phone, through email, or a Zoom call.

RFIcon

Safety First

The welfare of the campus community is our top priority. When a student displays threatening or potentially violent behavior, don't wait to call for help.

RFIcon

Take Your Time

If this is NOT an imminently dangerous situation, take time to think through the most helpful next step.

RFIcon

Use Active Listening

Listen sensitively, and make eye contact (as appropriate) with the student, giving them your full attention. Restate what the student says to make sure that you better understand what is causing the distress and/or what exactly they are asking for help with.

RFIcon

Stay Calm

Take a few deep breaths or a pause to calm yourself. Make sure you’re in a mental state to use a calm voice when talking and asking questions.

RFIcon

Seek Consultation

Consult the resources available to you and contact the Office of Case Management/CARE Team at 303-315-7306 or  Shareaconcern@ucdenver.edu.

RFIcon

Validate & Act

Thank the student for sharing and your desire to support them by connecting them with the right resources. State your intentions to handle this information delicately, sharing it with those in the best position to offer help, and make a plan to follow-up.

What About Privacy?

Appropriate consideration for student privacy should be given before information is shared with people other than those who are directly involved, or who you are reporting the information to (ie.CARE Team, Police). Questions about when such disclosure is appropriate can be answered by the campus Legal Counsel.

Refer

Does the Student Need Immediate Assistance?

*The Office of Case Management and CARE Team operate Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. In the event of a true emergency, contact police and then follow-up with a CARE report.

Where does a report go?

*Trust your instincts. If an interaction leaves you feeling worried, alarmed, or threatened, fill out a report form.

The Campus Assessment, Response & Evaluation (CARE) Team was created to address the health and safety needs of students and the campus community.

 

We assess whether individuals pose a risk to themselves or others and intervene when necessary. More generally, we identify and provide assistance to those in need.

 

The CARE Team is represented by several offices on campus including: Housing & Dining, Student Conduct & Community Standards, Office of Case Management, Legal Counsel, Office of Equity, Auraria Campus Police Department, and the Student and Community Counseling Center.

The Office of Case Management reaches out to every student referred to the CARE Team.

Case management services include, but are not limited to, providing intervention, advocacy, resources and referrals, as well as follow-up services for students who are experiencing significant difficulties.

 

Case managers support students struggling to navigate the university system, students with current and emerging mental or physical health issues, and students experiencing issues adjusting to academic and social life.

 

Case Managers coordinate student services and provide referrals to the appropriate resources on and off campus.

 

The Office of Case Management/CARE Team Response Process

  • You believe that an incident or circumstance has reached a level of concern.

  • You can submit a CARE report here

  • Within 3 business days, a report is reviewed and assessed.

    • NOTE: A Case Manager will reach out to you and may request additional information.

  • Case Management, in consultation with the CARE Team, will evaluate the situation and determine what further steps are required.

  • A Case Manager will reach out to the student of offer support, assess any risk for health and safety and provide follow up services.

  • Reporting parties may not be actively involved in ongoing communication about the student, but are welcome to follow with questions or updates.

When in doubt, fill it out.

Office of Case Management

Dean of Students Office

CU Denver
Tivoli Student Union

900 Auraria Parkway

#309

Denver, CO 80204

Shareaconcern@ucdenver.edu

303-315-7306

CU in the City logo
CMS Login