Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Important Information for Faculty

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.

Reporting a Student of Concern

The Office of the Dean of Students (DOS), Maloney Hall 448 | www.bc.edu/dos | 617-552-3470

The Office of the Dean of Students 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 the Student Outreach and Support Team 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 the student was a student 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.

Academic Signs

Please read Signs of Distress or Crisis for information on symptoms that may signify a student is in need of assistance. The following is a list of additional academic signs that may indicate that a student is in distress or crisis.

  • 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

Whether or not you decide to approach the student, you should report your concern to the Student Outreach and Support Team in the Dean of Students Office which serves as the central office on campus for staff, faculty, students and others to report concern about a student. 

• 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 a student, please contact us through our online Student of Concern Reporting Form or by calling the Student Outreach and Support Team at 617-552-3470.  You can also refer a student directly to the Student Outreach and Support Team at 617-552-3470.

What You Can Do for a Student in Distress or Crisis