During the past 10 years colleges and universities across the country have begun organizing systematic ways to address students of concern to provide needed help and interventions before student needs escalated. In theory, these teams are meant to ensure the sharing of appropriate information among key personnel and serve a number of purposes:
Research shows that in most instances, the student's need for intervention or help may have been evident to faculty, advisors, staff, or other students and friends but usually no single person had the full picture of the student’s concerns, or the training to evaluate and respond appropriately. Critical campus incidents such as the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 accelerated the drive to organize teams that address student crisis and provide mental health services through collecting and analyzing reports, and developing interventions. These teams focus on student success but also develop cross functional, collaborative threat assessment strategies seeking to make informed judgments and o on how credible the threat itself is and to what extent the individual has the intent and means to carry out the threat (motivation, resources, etc.). These initiatives are organized under different titles depending on the institution:
Following the implementation of BC’s new Early Alert program, in Fall 2014, the need for a systemic referral process and response coordination became evident. Although a case management approach to individual student issues has existed in the past, the College had not established an organized behavioral response team. With this goal, a pilot group was formed to start the process of researching protocols, developing care and threat assessment systems, and initiating a team based response system. The following members have been appointed to the team:
During the past few months this team has met weekly to discuss specific student cases that have been brought to attention (through instructors, early alerts, student conduct, Title IX, etc.), attended trainings and certification courses on best practices, and begun developing procedures (referral processes, suicidal student protocols, expanded informed consent, etc.) to respond to student needs. In the future, the team will begin to provide professional development to help address student concerns and how to refer students to the team. For more information please contact any of the members on the team.