Information for Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff often have first contact with students experiencing difficulties. Below are some considerations when referring a student to Health and Wellness.
Express concern without making generalizations or assumptions. Be specific about the behaviour that concerns you. For example: “I’ve noticed that you have been absent from class lately and I am concerned,” rather than,“Where have you been lately? You should be more concerned about your grades.”
Listen carefully to the student as they describe their situation. Ask questions so you can clarify their needs
Acknowledge the student’s thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, compassionate manner. Let the student know you understand what they are trying to communicate by reflecting back the essence of what they’ve said (“It sounds like you’re not used to such a big campus and you’re feeling out of things”).
Offer hope and reassurance to the student that things can get better.
Point out that help is available and seeking help is a sign of strength and courage rather than a sign of weakness or failure. Seeking professional help for other problems (medical, legal, car problems etc.) is considered good judgment and appropriate use of resources. Remember that except for emergencies, the option to accept or refuse assistance must be left up to the student. If the student becomes defensive, don’t force the issue or trick them into going for help.
Research available resources:
a) Ask colleagues or supervisors for help or ideas.
b) Contact the Health and Wellness office and ask for recommendations on how to approach the situation and/or for referral to appropriate resources.
If the student appears hesitant or reluctant, you can help by:
a) Informing the student that there is no charge for student services.
b) Assuring them of the confidential nature of health and counselling services.
c) Or help with the appointment by: Offering to contact Health and Wellness for the student while they are still in your office; offering to sit with the student while they make the initial contact themselves; and/or accompanying the student to the appointment, if appropriate. If the student emphatically says “no,” then respect that decision. Try and leave the door open for later reconsideration.
Give the student printed information or write down the pertinent information for the student to take with them. If you have made an appointment, ensure that the student has the contact name, number, and location.
Offer to follow up with the student, but don’t insist on knowing what the student has done.
- Direct or indirect reference to suicide.
a) Regardless of the circumstance or context, any reference to death by suicide should be taken very seriously and a mental health professional should be consulted.
b) Indirect references to suicide may include the following: expressing feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or helplessness; feelings that the world, family, friends, would be better off without the; unreasonable feelings of guilt
In the event of an actual suicide attempt, immediately call Emergency Services at 911 and Campus Security at ext. 78111 (from any campus phone) or 250 807 9236 to request assistance and/or ambulance
- Violent and Threatening Behaviour
a) Intervention or response varies with the severity of the offending behaviour
b) Immediate threat to safety or person/property: Immediately contact the RCMP/Call 911 and Contact Campus Security and your supervisor.
- Difficulty communicating and/or apparent distortions of reality:
a) Communication troubles such as impaired speech and irrational conversation or distortions of reality such as disturbing material in academic assignments are all causes for concern.
- Marked Changes in Mood or Behaviour
a) marked withdrawal from social interactions, notable changes in academic work, energy levels, or appearance are common signs of distress.
Responding to someone who has been sexually assaulted can be complex but chances are they have come to you because they trust you. Be compassionate, respectful, supportive. Survivors of sexual assault are the experts in determining what steps and resources are best for themselves, however you can ensure they have access and information about their resources.
Attend to Safety - Encourage the student to seek medical care and confirm that they have somewhere safe to stay.
Kelowna General Hospital, Health and Wellness Centre, and Campus Security are all possible helpful contacts.
Listen and show support - Allow the survivor to lead the conversation and listen without interrupting. Respect the words they use to describe what's happened, believing their account of events and reminding them they are not at fault. It can be helpful to ask what you can do to be supportive and to ease concerns the student might have about academic considerations in the moment.
Provide information on resources at UBC and in the community. More information on resources and contact information can be found on the second page of this Support for Student Survivors brochure.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to use Early Alert when they are concerned about a student’s wellbeing or academic performance--so that students who need assistance are connected with support in a coordinated approach before their difficulties become overwhelming. Concerning behaviour might include: marked decrease in academic performance; marked change in mood or behaviour; the student appears unusually withdrawn or distracted; and/or any other behaviour that indicates the student might be facing difficulties
Faculty and staff can access the easy-to-use, web-based Early Alert form by clicking here and using CWL credentials to log in.
For more detailed information regarding next steps after a concern is submitted, how to talk to students regarding Early Alert, and Early Alert FAQs for faculty and staff including opportunities for training, please visit the UBC Student Services Early Alert pages.
Last reviewed 9/7/2017 12:12:38 PM