When you call us with a concern about a student, we provide specific advice on how you can talk further with the student or contact others who may approach the student directly. Our role is to assist you to assist the student — rather than our taking direct action. As mental health professionals, we follow professional codes of ethics that highlight individuals' rights to privacy and self-determination in their contacts with us. Although we do outreach programs to groups of students — when invited — we do not initiate contact with individuals to assess or treat them. In addition to being intrusive were we to do so, there is no guarantee that the student would be honest with us — virtual strangers to them — about their distress or any level of dangerousness.
We will give you language, information, and support to talk with the student, including follow up calls with us as much as you need. You usually have the benefit of an existing relationship with the student — and if a student has approached you, you have some implicit permission to respond. If we think a situation you describe to us reflects an imminent risk of serious harm, we will tell you to call the UC Police (911). If you feel that you cannot address a concern directly with a student, we will tell you to call the Dean of Students office (513-556-5250). Contacting students who may be having serious difficulties is part of their role.