Student Outreach and Support Services staff work collaboratively with partners across campus to support students through whatever challenges they may be facing. We help students connect with the resources appropriate to their individual needs and consult with staff and faculty who are concerned about a student.
What to do in an emergency situation:
If you believe there may be imminent danger of harm to a student or someone else, immediately call the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) for assistance at 617–552–44444; if you are off campus, dial 911. If you need help in assessing the situation, call the University Counseling Services at 617–552–3310 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; after 5 p.m. contact BCPD at 617–552–4440.
Once the emergency situation has been addressed, you should still report your concern to the Student Outreach and Support Team at 617-552-3470 or submit an online report.
What to do in a non-emergency situation
If you do not think that there is an immediate threat to someone's safety, and you would like to speak with someone regarding a student of concern please contact the Student Outreach and Support Team in the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) at 617-552-3470. You can also submit an online report regarding a student of concern here:
As faculty and staff at BC, you may be the first to recognize the signs of a student who is struggling, in distress, or in a state of crisis. These signs often become evident on campus, in the classroom, and in the residence halls. You may notice a significant drop in a student’s academic investment, increasing isolation from peers, or you may simply be present when a student decides to share his or her struggles. Students may initially seek assistance from faculty and staff members as they can be perceived as available and willing to listen. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of distress and know how to respond and refer students to the appropriate department for assistance.
What Do Signs of Distress or Mental Health Crisis Look Like? How can I help?
It is important to recognize when someone is having difficulty and to intervene before it becomes a crisis. If a student is already exhibiting signs of being in a state of crisis, it is important to respond appropriately.
Signs to be aware of
It is common for students to feel distress at one time or another due to difficulties with adjustment, stress, anxiety, self-esteem, and relationship problems and may exhibit symptoms such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more. There are warning signs when symptoms of distress persist over time and may suggest that the problem may be a cause for concern.
A crisis is a situation in which an individual’s usual style of coping is no longer effective, and the emotional or physiological response begins to escalate.
Knowing the severity of a student’s distress is important to providing the best response and support.
Signs of Distress
Changes in academic performance
Changes in attendance at class or meetings
Depressed or lethargic mood
Hyperactivity and/or rapid speech
Withdrawal from friends or daily activities
Marked change in personal habits
Repeatedly falling asleep in class
Behavior that pushes the limits of decorum and that interferes with the educational environment
Physical signs such as immobilization, shaking, agitation, and aggression
Signs of a Mental Health Crisis
Destruction of property or other criminal acts
Extreme anxiety resulting in panic reactions
Inability to communicate
Suicidal statements or attempts
Loss of contact with reality or highly irrational thinking
Highly disruptive behavior
Confused and repetitive thinking
Fighting or assaultive behavior
Physical signs such as immobilization, shaking, agitation, and aggression
Deterioration in quality of work
Missed assignments or appointments
Repeated requests for unusual accommodations such as late papers, extensions, postponed exams, etc.
Papers or essays that have themes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage, or despair
Lack of engagement in participation-oriented classes
Repeated absence from class or lab
What You Can Do for a Student in Distress or Crisis
If you choose to approach a student you are concerned about or if a student seeks you out, here are some suggestions:
- Talk to the student in private when both of you have time and are not rushed or preoccupied.
- Be direct and specific. Express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms. For example, say, “You look stressed. I’m concerned about you. Can you tell me what is going on?”
- Listen sensitively.
- Be aware of resources and share information about appropriate resources with the student.
- Follow up. Check with the student later to find out how the student is doing. Provide support as appropriate.
If you feel that there is an emergency situation, or a student may be an immediate threat to themselves or others, please contact BCPD at 617-552-4444. Reporting your concern
Reporting your concern
The Office of Student Outreach and Support Services serves as the central office on campus for staff, faculty, students and other community members to report concern about a student. If you are concerned about a student, please contact us through our online Student of Concern Reporting Form or by calling us at 617-552-3470. You can also refer a student directly to the Student Outreach and Support Team at 617-552-3470.
Even if a student reports concerning information from before their time at BC, you should still report this to the Student Outreach and Support team. Of particular concern is students reporting a history of a significant mental health concerns, hospitalizations and/or suicide attempt(s).
Please note that if you are concerned about someone's immediate safety, please call the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) at 617–552–4444.
Reporting your concern to the Student Outreach and Support Team ensures that students are able to access coordinated care and support and provides documentation of both the concern about the student and any support provided to the student.
If you are concerned about someone's immediate safety, please call the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) at 617–552–4444.
The following is information about counseling, medical, and personal assistance resources that you could provide to a student.
The Behavioral Evaluation Team
The Behavioral Evaluation Team (BET) is a multidisciplinary group of staff and faculty that serve as the central hub of information regarding students who may be in distress or crisis and/or who are displaying concerning behaviors. In its work, the BET stresses prevention and early intervention with students and works to coordinate the resources of the University in order to develop support strategies for students. The goal of the BET is to improve the overall well-being and safety of individual students and the campus community.
When a student demonstrates behavior that poses a serious and imminent health or safety risk and/or demonstrates behavior that is significantly disruptive to the University learning environment, the BET makes an individualized assessment of the matter. The BET may then recommend to the Dean of Students or designee a range of responses and support strategies that include, but are not limited to:
- Outreach to the student to provide direct support;
- Refer to on campus support resources and/or case management;
- Mandate a medical/ psychological assessment and that the student adhere to treatment recommendations from any such assessment;
- Modify campus housing placements to limit further disruptions of the residential community, which may include relocation in campus housing, separation from campus housing, and/or conditions on remaining or returning to campus housing;
- Institute an interim administrative action(s); and
- Recommend or require a leave of absence.
The Office of Student Outreach and Support Services, or designee, reviews any recommendations of the Behavioral Evaluation Team, makes a determination about what, if any, measures are appropriate, and oversees the implementation of any recommendations of the BET.