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For Faculty/Staff

Helping Students in Distress: A Faculty/Staff Guide

We all recognize that emotional distress is an expected part of a college student’s experience, whether the source is academic, personal, social, family, or financial. Some students are able to cope effectively, with little adverse impact on their academics or social life, while others struggle to varying degrees. Due to your presence on campus and the amount of interaction you have with students, you are in a good position to recognize those students who exhibit troubled behavior. While it’s certainly impossible to notice and assist all of them, being observant and showing that you are concerned can go a long way toward helping a struggling student.

Keep in mind that we can provide assistance to you in the form of a phone or in-person consultation and as a referral source you can give to the student.

If the student appears to be a danger to self/others, call Retriever Integrated Health/Counseling (410-455-2472)  between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or University Police (410-455-5555) 24/7.

Outside of regular business hours, students can also call the After-Hours Support Line at 410-455-3230. The support line helps students connect to resources if they are experiencing a mental health crisis, health issues, sexual assault, or relationship violence.

What to look for:

  • extreme shifts in behavior (i.e., drop in academic performance)
  • changes in personal hygiene
  • disruptive behavior
  • excessively anxious when called upon
  • avoiding participation
  • excessive absences/tardiness
  • heightened anxiety/worrying
  • pessimism about the future
  • dramatic weight gain/loss
  • unexplained crying
  • impaired speech or confused thoughts

What you can do:

  • talk to the student privately
  • show interest and concern
  • avoid criticism/judgment
  • consult with the Counseling Center (410-455-2472)
  • refer the student to the Counseling Center
  • escort the student to the Counseling Center

Additional Resources

Behavioral Risk Assessment and Consultation Team (BRACT) 

BRACT assists faculty, staff, and students with situations and behaviors that are concerning, disruptive, and/or threatening.

Read the UMBC Faculty and Staff Guide on Helping a Person in Distress.

To contact a member of the BRACT team, please call 410-455-2393 or email bract@umbc.edu

Kognito

Kognito provides free, online simulated conversation programs for faculty and staff to practice having conversations expressing concern for students and others in distress.

Student Resources

Behavioral Risk Assessment and Consultation Team (BRACT) 

BRACT assists faculty, staff, and students with situations and behaviors that are concerning, disruptive, and/or threatening.

Read the UMBC Faculty and Staff Guide on Helping a Person in Distress.

To contact a member of the BRACT team, please call 410-455-2393 or email bract@umbc.edu

These tools are not intended for use during a mental health crisis:

  • Togetherall
    • Togetherall is a safe, online peer-to-peer community where students can share feelings anonymously 24/7 and get support and encouragement to help improve their mental health and well-being.
  • WellTrack – Interactive Self-Help Therapy
    • WellTrack is designed to help students understand their mental health and to provide them with help. WellTrack offers a suite of online tools and courses such as Depression, Anxiety and Stress, and Find Your Inner Calm Through Mindfulness.