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Guide to Working with Individuals of Concern

  High Risk Behaviors  

Behavior indicates an imminent safety risk to the individual or community

Example Behaviors

  • Expressed intent to harm self or others
  • Branding a weapon
  • Suicide attempt or threat
  • Bizarre delusions or hallucinations

What to do?

or from a cell phone dial #UKPD (#8573)

Moderate Risk Behaviors

Behavior that is not typically life threatening; may signal that an individual's coping skills are being challenged

Example Behaviors

  • Indirect threats to self or others or disturbing content in academic work
  • Erratic behavior or expressing hopelessness/helplessness
  • Withdrawal from friends or daily activities

What to do?

Document the behavior and refer to the Center for Support and Intervention

Behaviors of Concern

Behavior may interfere with academic or personal success but not likely to indicate a risk to life or safety

Example Behaviors

  • Frequent class absences
  • Changes in apperance or hygiene
  • Difficulty adjusting to college life
  • Uncooperative

What to do?

Refer to resources or refer to the Center for Support and Intervention

Intervention Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

  • Safety First! Always keep safety in mind as you interact with a distressed individual. If danger seems imminent, call 911 or #UKPD (from a cell phone) for UK Police.
  • Avoid Escalation. It is usually not a good idea to assert authority unless you are certain of the individual's mental health status. Distressed individuals are in need of listening and support.
  • Ask Direct Questions. Ask the individual directly if they are drunk, confused or if they have thoughts of harming themselves. You need not be afraid to ask these questions. You will not be "putting ideas in their heads" by doing so. Most distressed individuals are relieved to know that someone has noticed and is paying attention.
  • Do Not Assume You Are Being Manipulated. Only a thorough assessment can determine this. Attention-seeking or responsibility-avoiding individuals can have serious problems and be in danger, too.
  • Know Your Limits/Boundaries. Respect any feelings of discomfort you may have as this may be a sign of over-extension in your helping; focus on getting them the assistance they require. You do not need to serve as a counselor.
  • Confidentiality. Don't promise confidentiality to a student.
  • Keep a Written Record. This will allow you to maintain details on your concerns for the individual and the efforts you have taken to assist the individual in getting help.
  • Offer to walk with the individual to the UK Counseling Center or the VIP Center depending on their needs.

Referring an individual to the center for support and intervention

When to refer:

Refer if…

your effor to manage a behavioral issue has not resolved the issue;

Refer if…

you are concerned about the welfare of an individual, yourself, or others;

Refer if…

an individual asks you for help in dealing with personal issues that are outside your role;

Refer if…

you have referred the individual in the past and there seems to be no improvement or behavior seems to be worsening.

Information needed to submit an effective regerral:


Your name, contact information and relationship to the individual


The individual's name, contact information, and, if possible, student ID number


A brief, factual explanation of your concerns or observations-including dates, time, locations, etc.


What has been done so far to address the concerns and the individual's response to those efforts

Who should I contact regarding harassment?

A complaint of discrimination or harassment may be initiated by contacting any dean, directory, faculty member, department head, manager, supervisor, or other individual with supervisory or administrative responsibility. Any such individual who receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment shall report the allegation to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity.

Contact: Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity
13 Main Building, Phone: 859-257-8927

Support for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Unwanted contact may be in violation of University policy and/or illegal.

Contact UK's Violence Intervention and Prevention Center at 859-257-3574 or UKPD for assistance in accessing and navigating services, resources, and referrals both on and off campus.

Sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence may be reported to UKPD, Lexington Fayette Urban County Police, UK VIP Center, the Dead of Students Office, the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity, or to any University official.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't know if I should refer?

Considering that UK is a large campus community, connecting what we know about a student from a variety of sources will assist in better serving the student's needs. Even minor details may be important to the bigger picture. When in doubt refer or consult the Center for Support and Intervention.

What about student privacy?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits the sharing of personal observations and knowledge about a student among campus officials where there is a legitimate educational need to know. If you have a concern about a student, do not hesitate to notify the Center for Support and Intervention.

What is QPR and how can it assist campus community members in preventing suicide?

QPR stands for: Question, Persuade, and Refer - three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to get a person at risk the help they need.

To schedule a QPR training session, contact the UK Counseling Center at 859-257-8701.

How can disruptive behavior inside the classroom be addressed?

Faculty should be explicit in the syllabus in defining expectations about classroom behavior, classroom participation, class attendance, and civil discourse. Additionally, if the faculty member has standards and expectations related to the use of technology (earbuds, cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) in the classroom, these guidelines should be clearly articulated in the source syllabus. Any such policy must provide for reasonable exceptions.

Resources for Employees

Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT}

Serves as a University-wide resource for information and services to assist instructors in enhancing educational practice

C.R.I.S.I.S Program

Assists University of Kentucky employees who are experiencing personal financial hardship

Employee Financial Counseling

Provides a free voluntary counseling and referral service for UK employees

Employee Relations

Serves as a database of regulations with resources including the staff shared leave pool

REFER Program

A professional mental health clinic for UK employees

Work + Life Connections Program

Voluntary and confidential counseling for UK employees

Resources for the Entire UK Community

Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Provides support and confidential advocacy for any student, staff, or faculty member impacted by bias, hatred, and/or an act of identity-based violence

Center for Support and Intervention

Provides a central point of entry for concerns regarding students and employees and connecting individuals to resources

Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity / Title IX Coordinator

OIEEO handles complaints of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct for the University of Kentucky

Office of LGBTQ* Resources

Supports education, advocacy, and community building for members of the LGBTQ* community on campus

University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD)

Provides quality police services ethically, fairly, and equally

Veterans Resource Center

Provides assistance and resources to ease the transition for student and staff veterans

Violence Intervention and Prevention Center

Works towards eliminating interpersonal violence through education and support services