When you are concerned about someone

When people exhibit concerning behaviors, they typically need help or support. If they communicate a plan to cause harm to people or places, or they are in crisis, it is important to share or relay these concerns to people who can help. This assistance can include referrals to confidential counseling services, campus support resources, medical and health services, and protective or no contact orders through law enforcement.

Step 1: Notice the Warning Signs

Review the common warning signs for recognizing concerning behaviors and communications.

May include displaying behaviors or sharing communications (on social media, digital media, verbally) that indicate significant or increasing anger. These behaviors may include having angry outbursts, excessive irritability, lack of patience, and engaging in aggressive acts. 

Observable changes in demeanor, appearance, or routine. Examples may include increased apathy about life, decreased effort on schoolwork, withdrawing from activities, poor or decreased personal hygiene, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and changes in online behaviors. 

Interest in weapons, researching or purchasing weapons, or communicating about weapons in a way that indicates unusual or concerning levels of interest. Interest in weapons may be expressed through drawings or artwork, or an intense interest in guns, knives, or explosives. Other examples include bragging about access to guns or weapons. 

May include confiding in another person about these feelings or writing about them online. Other signs include isolating oneself, experiencing chronic loneliness, and suddenly withdrawing from friends, family, or activities (including online or on social media). Withdrawal could also include things like no longer speaking up in class, not coming to class, or not responding to emails or texts. 

These observations may indicate the person is in crisis and needs help and can be reported. 

Expressing thoughts of harming someone else, or speaking about violent interests, including topics related to school attacks, Hitler/Nazism, and other violent themes. These interests may be shared openly, or with close friends/acquaintances. 

May include having a deep interest in or commitment to an extremist ideology, having been previously or currently involved with a gang or delinquent peers, or having a close connection or friendship with an individual affiliated with a group promoting violence or extremism (e.g., white supremacy, nationalism). 

Communicating about, expressing persistent thoughts of harming themselves, or engaging in behaviors related to suicide or self-harm. 

Making direct or indirect threats toward a place, person, or group; sharing verbal, written, visual, or video communications that reference an intent to carry out an attack, a desire to see bloodshed, or a threat to a specific target. This may include harassing language targeted toward different races, religions, genders, or sexual orientations or expressing direct threats or a plan to cause harm. 

According to a study conducted by the National Threat Assessment Center, people who perpetrated targeted acts of violence typically exhibited five or more of the above concerning behaviors and/or communicated their intent to cause harm prior to the event.

When in doubt about someone’s or others’ safety, share your concerns and seek out referrals and resources so that others can provide assistance and support.

Step 2: Share Your Concerns to Seek Out Support

Explore avenues for sharing concerns, making referrals, and seeking out resources.

If the threat is imminent, report to the CU Police Department at 303-492-6666 or 911.

Concerning behavior may also be anonymously reported to Safe2Tell at 1-877-542-7233, Safe2Tell.org, or via the Safe2Tell app.

Student Support and Case Management (SSCM)

You can refer a student who is distressed, withdrawn, depressed, or anxious, or if you believe they may be a potential threat to themselves or others to SSCM at 303-492-7348 or via email at sscm@colorado.edu. SSCM works to ensure the safety and well-being of both the student and the CU community.

Learn more ways to help a fellow Buff by visiting BeThe1to.

Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)

If you have concerns about an employee's behavior, contact BIT at intervention@colorado.edu, call CU police if it's an immediate safety concern at 303-492-6666 or 911, or talk to an appointing authority or supervisor. BIT manages the threat assessment process for employees who pose a threat to themselves or others.