What Can I Do?
The University has adopted the following response model (A.L.E.R.T.) for staff and faculty to use when working with students who are experiencing psychological issues.
The ALERT Model
A.L.E.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:
Acknowledge what the person is saying and feeling in a sensitive and compassionate way. Trust your instincts even if an individual denies that there is a difficulty. You can still let the person know that you are concerned, and that you want to help.
Listen to the individual in private when both of you have time. Allowing the person to talk without interruption, and offering your undivided attention, can help the person to feel cared about and more confident about what to do. Reflecting back what you believe the individual is saying can help him/her to feel heard.
Engage without making generalizations or assumptions about the person. Be specific about the behaviour which is the cause for concern. It is okay to ask about it, and to name what you see. For example, a faculty member may say, “I’ve noticed that you have not been in class lately, and I’m concerned.” Offer hope and reassure the student that things can get better. Assist the person in realizing that there are always options and resources, and that life will not always seem hopeless.
Refer the student to Counselling Services at Ext. 53244 or Student Health Services at Ext. 52131 to access immediate help and support. Both services have counsellors and doctors available on an emergency basis. To facilitate the referral you can offer to contact either service on their behalf, or offer to accompany the student for an appointment to the service provider.
Except in an emergency situation, you must respect the person’s right to accept or refuse a referral. However, if it is a life-threatening emergency and the student refuses to access any of the resources available, immediately consult with either Counselling or Health Services for assistance. Offer to follow up with the student.
If the crisis is of a severe and extreme nature, the Crisis Management Team may be co-ordinated and the Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs) will be informed and consulted on the situation.
Talk with staff from either Counselling Services (Ext. 53244) or Health Services (Ext. 52131) about the situation, resources that are available and to discuss a plan of action. Consult with colleagues or supervisors for support, guidance, and assistance.