FACULTY AND STAFF GUIDE: ASSISTING DISTRESSED STUDENTS (continued)
As faculty and staff members, you may be the first ones to identify students who are in distress. Your expressions of concern and support may be the critical factor in helping a distressed student. It is also important that you communicate your observations appropriately.
The following is designed to guide AACC faculty and staff in responding to, intervening with, and referring students in distress. Counseling, Advising and Retention Services (CARS) is available to consult with you on a particular student’s intervention and to assist students in distress.
WHAT CAN FACULTY/STAFF DO?
Your response will vary depending upon the situation.
In a non-crisis situation in which you have concerns about a student that do not involve an imminent threat to self or others:
Talk with the student about your concerns and observations at an appropriate time and in an appropriate setting, as this acknowledgement often encourages them to get help:
- Try to listen to their thoughts and feelings in a sensitive way
- Try to avoid judging, evaluating, criticizing or diagnosing
- Try to spell out your specific concerns and tell them how you or the college can help
Maintain a professional relationship with the student and be aware of your boundaries and expectations.
Consult with counseling staff members in Counseling, Advising and Retention Services by calling 410-777-7111 or ext. 7111 (internally) about the best way to handle the situation:
- Depending upon the nature of the concern, the counselor may document your concern and require that you complete an Incident Form.
- To report an incident, please visit the "Report an Incident" link available on the bottom left of this and every AACC web page.
Refer the student, if necessary, to Counseling via the Counseling phone line at 410-777-7111 or ext. 7111 (internally). In making the referral, point out that help is available and that seeking help is a sign of strength rather than of weakness or failure:
- Counseling will refer students as appropriate to various community resources.
- The Anne Arundel County Warmline provides back-up services as needed. In the event that AACC-based counseling assistance is not immediately available and the situation is urgent, the Warmline will be contacted.
Follow-up with the student again as this follow-up can solidify the student’s resolve to seek appropriate help.
In a crisis situation in which you have concerns that do involve an imminent threat to self or others:
- The Department of Public Safety and Police (DPSP) can be reached at 410-777-1818 from Arnold, Arundel Mills, and Glen Burnie Town Center.
- If DPSP determines it is a high level threat, Public Safety/Police officers will be dispatched immediately and they will contact other external agencies as necessary.
- If the situation can be handled internally, your call will be documented, triaged and routed to the appropriate department. DPSP will respond and, if appropriate, remove the disruptive and/or threatening individual(s) from the area and assess the students for influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, etc. DPSP shall follow their own internal procedures in addition to those outlined as follows:
- DPSP shall call the college nurse when first aid and medical care are needed.
- DPSP shall call Counseling, Advising and Retention Services when emotional or psychological distress is apparent.
- DPSP shall notify the Director of Student Conduct immediately of the incident.
- DPSP shall submit a written incident report within 24 hours after involvement in the event. The written report should include the following information:
The caller will be required to complete an Incident Form. To report an incident, please visit the "Report an Incident" link available on the bottom left of this and every AACC web page.
- Date, time and place of incident
- Facts of the case
- Name of the person reporting and their phone number
- Names of all involved students
- Names of all witnesses and their phone numbers
IN AN URGENT OR EMERGENCY SITUATION
- Remain calm
- Avoid making promises of confidentiality
- Stay with the student until help arrives
- Consider separating the disruptive student from the class
- When appropriate, designate another student to call the Department of Public Safety and Police at 410-777-1818
STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY
All contacts with students are treated confidentially and in accordance with state and federal law, and existing professional and ethical guidelines.