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 on the Counseling Hotline on 410-777-7111 or internally on ext. 7111, 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.
- Incident Forms are available in MyAACC on the upper and lower right corners of the Main Menu.
Refer the student, if necessary, to Counseling via the Counseling Hotline, 410-777-7111 or internally on ext. 7111. 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:
- Public Safety can be reached at 410-777-1818 from Arnold, Arundel Mills, and Glen Burnie Town Center.
- If Public Safety determines it is a high level threat, Public Safety 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. Public Safety 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. Public Safety shall follow their own internal procedures in addition to those outlined as follows:
The caller will be required to complete an Incident Form. Incident Forms are available at MyAACC on the upper and lower right corners of the Main Menu.
- Public Safety shall call the college nurse when first aid and medical care are needed.
- Public Safety shall call Counseling, Advising and Retention Services when emotional or psychological distress is apparent.
- Public Safety shall notify the Office of the Dean of Student Services immediately of the incident.
- Public Safety shall submit a written incident report within 24 hours after involvement in the event. The written report should include the following information:
- 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:
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 Public Safety
STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY
All contacts with students are treated confidentially and in accordance with state and federal law, and existing professional and ethical guidelines.