Responding to Students in Distress or Crisis
University encourages and supports faculty and staff who respond to students in
distress. Students in distress often display behavior that may pose a threat to
self or others, such as:
dysfunction academically, socially or with employment
inability to care for oneself (e.g., poor hygiene)
behavior posing a threat to the student (e.g., drug abuse)
talk, gestures, intentions, or attempts
or aggression directed toward others
responsibilities are not to diagnose or provide therapy; it is the development
of a compassionate and forthright conversation that ultimately helps a student
in trouble find understanding, support, and the proper resources. If the
student requires immediate medical attention, hospitalization, is unmanageable (e.g.,
aggressive, hostile, refusing care), or if you feel directly threatened by a
student or feel others are at risk:
- Call the
police at 911 or (904) 620-2800. Be sure to inform the dispatcher of your
location, e.g., “I’m at UNF in Building 2, first floor, Room 1332.”
resources for responding to students in crisis include:
- The UNF Counseling
Center is available to students and those acting on their behalf Monday through
Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Center can be reached by calling (904) 620-2602 and is located in
Founder’s Hall (Building 2), Suite 2300. For after hours, the mental health
helpline can be reached by calling 904-620-2602 and selecting option #2 after
the voicemail system is engaged.
- The UNF
Victim Advocacy Program is available 24 hours a day at (904) 620-1010 to assist
persons impacted by crime through a broad range of services including but not
limited to: crisis intervention, accompaniment through the judicial process and
referrals. The Victim Advocacy Program is located in Founder’s Hall (Building
2), Suite 2100.
You Can Do:
the student in moving to a quiet, safe and secure place, if possible.
the help of someone else so the student is not left alone and you are not left
alone with the student.
attentively and respond in a straightforward and considerate way. Take notes if
possible including the date and time.
contacting a campus resource, have as much information available as possible, including
your name, the student’s name and location, an accurate description of the student,
a description of the circumstances, time and date of the incident and the types
of assistance possibly needed.
appropriate, contact the Supporting our Students (SOS) team and/or the Dean of
Students Office as soon as possible at (904) 620-1491, Building #2, Founders
Hall, Room 1011.
adding the contact information for the UNF Counseling Center to your syllabi:
UNF Counseling Center
1 UNF Drive, Building 2, Room 2300, Founders
Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699
Tel: (904) 620-2602 and Fax: (904) 620-1085
Please review this page to give
yourself a general idea of the various issues students may be dealing with so
you are aware of when a student should be referred to UPD, the Counseling
Center or other campus resource to assist them. Once students are referred to
the correct resource, you can work with that entity to assist the student. Please avoid trying to diagnose the student
or to work with them individually to address many of the behaviors and
conditions described on this page.
It is not that we do not want you to take the initiative to assist
students, but instead you can best serve students by recognizing when they need
assistance, referring them for help, and then working with the student in a
collaborative nature through the different resources on campus and in the surrounding
community. While you may have the best intentions, assisting students without
including the appropriate resources may cause you difficulty with the students
in the future (e.g. grading or other disputes) and further may result in you
finding yourself more involved in a student’s private issues than you may have
Additionally, the best of
intentions may result in the student not receiving the actual services needed in
a timely manner and in some cases may result in the University having potential
legal liability. As a university, our
goal is to have the students be successful while obtaining services
needed. Therefore, we hope this page provides you guidance regarding recognizing situations where students are in
distress or are in need of professional assistance.
Please bookmark this page as a reference. If you perceive a situation, reread that
section and make notes for future interactions with that student.