Here are some tips to follow when responding to a student who is in distress:

  • Stay safe: If there is an imminent danger to you, the student or someone else, call 911.
  • Take your time: If this is not a life-threatening situation, take time to listen to a student's concerns and express how you might be able to help. For instance, you may be able to connect them or refer them to support services on campus.
  • Stay calm: Take a few deep breaths to calm down before addressing a student. Ask questions, get clarification about the situation and avoid raising your voice during the conversation.
  • Use active listening: Make eye contact and give students your full attention. Restate what they have said to make sure you understand their distress and/or what they need help with.
  • Ask direct questions: Don't be afraid to directly ask a student if they are having thoughts of harming themselves or others. Remember that asking about self-harm or suicide does not mean you are ‘planting’ or encouraging them to do it.
  • Refer: Connect students with the appropriate campus resources for additional support.

  Mandatory reporting for staff and faculty

Any sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse (including dating and domestic violence), stalking, protected-class discrimination or harassment, or related retaliation disclosed to a university employee must be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC).

Confidential campus resources are exempt from CU Boulder’s mandatory reporting policy, including the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA), Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) and Ombuds.

For questions regarding these issues or the obligation to report, please contact OIEC at 303-492-2127.

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