CARE - Concern - Assessment - Referral - Evaluation

Helping students of concern

The Bristol Community College CARE Team provides guidance and assistance to students who are displaying odd or unusual behaviors, engaging in other behaviors that may be perceived as being harmful to self or others, or who share information that is cause for concern. The CARE Team accepts referrals and responds to students (and their families, faculty, and staff) when concerns for student’s health, welfare, academic performance, and safety are identified.

The CARE Team is not for emergencies.  Please call Bristol Community College Police at 774.357.2218 from an off-campus phone or 3911 from any campus phone if there is an immediate threat to a student’s safety or well–being.

The CARE Team also supports members of the college community who interact with these students of concern by assessing and evaluating situations, communicating with individuals involved or impacted by a student’s behavior, and providing referrals and resources to assist and address behavioral concerns.  The CARE Team is committed to educating the college community about existing policies and instructs community members on how to address students of concern.

Examples of CARE Team referrals

  • There are perceived concerns regarding the mental and/or physical health, welfare, and safety of a student.
  • A student's physical appearance is deteriorating.
  • A student is suffering from or dealing with the side effects of a serious illness.
  • A student’s behavior in the classroom that may be disruptive to the learning environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I consider making a referral?

If you have concerns about a student's behavior or life experiences that do not necessitate and immediate response, you may submit a referral to the CARE Team. For immediate emergencies, contact College Police by calling 3911 from a campus phone or 774-357-2218.

How can I identify a student in distress?

A student in distress may seem troubled, confused, sad, anxious, withdrawn, and/or irritable. These students may appear to lack motivation and/or concentration and may demonstrate bizarre behaviors or have suicidal inclinations.

Signs that a student is in distress may include the following:

  • A sudden change from passing grades to poor performance
  • Excessive absence from a previously consistent attendance
  • Avoidance of participation, anxiety, or dominance of discussions in class
  • Increase or decrease in energy level or sleeping in class
  • Depression, rapid speech, swollen red eyes, or change in personal hygiene
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses that are inappropriate to the situation
  • Highly emotional or repeated requests for special consideration

How could I respond to a student in distress? 

For students who appear to be in distress, it is appropriate to consider one of the following responses:

  • In the event of an emergency or imminent threat, contact BCC Campus Police immediately at 774.357.2218 or dial 3911 from a campus landline.
  • Deal directly with the behavior or problem according to your established classroom protocol as outlined in the course syllabus.
  • Address the situation on a more personal level, rather than in front of others.
  • Consult with a member of Counseling and Health Services or a member of the CARE Team.
  • Make a referral to the CARE Team.

How can I identify a student exhibiting disruptive behaviors?

A student who meets this criterion may be engaging in conduct that is visibly disruptive or dangerous and may include verbal or physical threats. In some instances, the student may even make active threats of suicide or be resistant to help when offered.

Warning signs of a student exhibiting disruptive behaviors

A disruptive student exhibits behavior that may signify an obvious crisis that necessitates an emergency intervention.  These problems are the easiest to identify. Examples include:

  • Highly disruptive behavior may include hostility, aggression towards others, or in serious cases, violent outbursts.
  • Garbled or slurred speech with unconnected or disjointed thoughts and rambling
  • Loss of contact with reality such as seeing or hearing things that are not witnessed or heard by others present and may also include holding beliefs or engaging in actions that are not consistent with reality or that a reasonable person would perceive to be probable
  • Stalking behavior or repeated unwelcome advances
  • Inappropriate communications including threatening or intimidating messages, e-mails, or verbal harassment
  • Suicidal ideations expressed verbally or in classroom assignments
  • Threats to harm self or others

How should I respond to a student exhibiting disruptive behavior?

Remain calm and know who to call for help, if necessary.

  • If a student expresses a direct threat of harm to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, contact BCC Campus Police at 774.357.2218 or dial 3911 from a campus landline
  • If it is safe to do so, find someone to stay with the student while you call for help.
  • If the student’s name is not known, note identifying features of appearance and dress in case the student flees. 
  • Remember that it is not your responsibility to provide professional counseling.
  • Your priority is to connect the student with the resource best suited to address the concern.

When and how can I refer a student to Counseling and Health Services?

If a student is noticeably distressed, here are some approaches that may help to connect students to Counseling Services:

  • Recommend Counseling Services to the student as an available option.
  • Determine the student’s willingness to meet with someone from Counseling Services.
  • Reassure the student that it is an act of strength to ask for help and seek assistance.
  • Remind them that the Counseling Services resources are free and confidential services.
  • Offer to help make the initial contact with the Counseling Services for them.

How can I make a referral to the CARE Team?

If you have questions about the process, please contact Office of the Vice President at 774.357.2150.

What happens when a referral is made?

The CARE Team will evaluate the referral and determine the appropriate response. The CARE Team will also notify other college officials as needed.