What is the BCC?

Behavioral Concerns & Students in Distress Policy

Topic Areas:

- Student who has been Bereaved
- Student who has Anxiety
- Student who is Injuring Self
- Student with Disordered Eating
- Student Suspected of Substance Abuse/Addition

 What is the BCC?

The BCC reviews cases with students that display behavioral concerns which may pose imminent harm to self, others, or the community. The BCC consists of staff representatives who work with the student to develop a course of action that will best suit their needs as well as balance the needs of the University community. Examples of situations which may be referred to the BCC include suicidal ideation/attempts, disordered patterns of eating, cutting and/or self mutilation as well as other similar behaviors. The Dean of Students, or Dean's designee, chairs this committee and works with University faculty, the University Counseling Center, Disability Services, and the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards to coordinate student care.

To refer or report a case or if you have any questions, contact the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@slu.edu or by calling (314) 977-9378.

Behavioral Concerns & Students in Distress Policy

The intent of this policy is to assist the Student who cannot function effectively in the University community without posing a risk to him/herself or infringing upon the safety, rights or opportunities of others. To view this policy in its entirety, please see section 2.15 of the 2013-2014 Student Handbook.

Topic Areas

The below topics areas are designed to assist faculty and staff in understanding common behaviors that when observed may indicate a student in possible distress. There are also some general DOs and DON'Ts provided for each topic that may assist when encountering specific types of student distress.

Student who has been Bereaved

A student who has experienced a recent death (or who is anticipating the death) of a loved one or community member, might appear lethargic, tearful, irritable, or distracted. They may have difficulty concentrating and may have a hard time focusing on schoolwork.

- DO -
• Tell the student what you notice
• Consider initiating a discussion about how the situation may be impacting the student's school functioning, and how the student might make a realistic plan for dealing with academic obligations
• Refer for emotional support and academic planning

- DON'T -
• Be afraid to acknowledge their grief or the impact it may be having
• Assume you know what it means to the student
• Devalue the impact the situation is having
• Immediately advise the student to drop out of school

University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)
Campus Ministry - (314) 977-2428
Student Support and Parent & Family Programs - (314) 977-9378

Student with Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal response to a perceived danger or unknown situation. For some students the cause of their anxiety will be clear, but for others it is difficult to pinpoint the source of stress. Regardless of the cause, the subjective experience is similar, and includes: rapid heart palpitations; chest pain or discomfort; dizziness; sweating; trembling or shaking; and cold, clammy hands. The student may also complain of difficulty concentrating, always being "on the edge," having difficulty making decisions, or being too fearful to take action. In some cases, a student may experience a panic attack in which the physical symptoms occur so spontaneously and intensely that the student may fear she/he is dying.

- DO -
• Let the student discuss their thoughts and feelings; often this alone relieves a great deal of pressure
• Be clear about your parameters and recommendations
• Stay calm
• Provide a safe and quiet environment until the symptoms subside
• Call for consultation if the student is unable to calm down

- DON'T -
• Discount the thoughts and feelings the student expresses
• Overwhelm the student with information or too many ideas
• Try to "fix" their condition

University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)

Student who is Injuring Self

You may observe a range of evidence of self-injuring behaviors including scars, cuts, missing hair, burns, etc. You may receive written assignments disclosing self-injury. You might feel horrified, disgusted, angry, overwhelmed, sad, helpless, concerned, or compassionate. In response,

- DO -
• Talk to the student in private about what you see
• Express your concern in a neutral, compassionate way
• Express hope
• Give referrals

- DON'T -
• Convey the intensity of your emotional response
• Order the student to stop

University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)

Student with Disordered Eating

 You may observe a student who is:

• Very thin or a very thin student with unusual downy hair on her/his skin
• With discolored teeth, or scars on the back of her/his hands (this is from vomiting)
• Preoccupied with food and exercise

A student may disclose quite restrictive eating, eating large quantities of food at one time, vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising compulsively.

- DO -
• Talk with the student about your concerns in a supportive way. It is important to discuss these issues with honesty and respect
• Talk with the student at an appropriate time and place - in private, free from distractions
• Be prepared that the person may deny that she/he has a problem
• Listen with a nonjudgmental ear
• Encourage the person to seek professional help as soon as possible. Suggest that she/he see someone who specializes in eating disorders (a physician, therapist, or dietitian)
• Be aware of how much you talk about weight, food, calories, or appearance

- DON'T -
• Try to solve her/his problems or help with the eating disorder on your own
• Confront the student with a group of people, or in front of a group of people
• Make any comments on what students look like
• Try to force or encourage the student to eat
• Get into power struggles
• Let his/her peculiarities dominate you or manipulate you
• Gossip about her/him to others
• Be scared to talk with her/him
• Expect a student to be "cured" by treatment; Recovery can be a long process

University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)

Student Suspected of Substance Abuse/Addiction

Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive drug. Drugs and alcohol are commonly abused in the college environment. Student drug or alcohol use may come to your attention when students are actually under the influence in class, or when use outside class sabotages student performance.

- DO -
• Express your concerns in terms of specific changes in behavior and performance
• Offer support and concern for the student's overall well-being
• Express confidence that the student can change this if they decide to. If there is a problem, there is effective help.
• Maintain contact with the student after a referral is made. Ask if you may check in.
• Consider calling DPSEP at (314) 977-3000 if a student is disruptive in the classroom

- DON'T -
• Attempt to discuss the situation if the student is under the influence
• Attempt to elicit "confessions"
• Be surprised or thrown off by denial
• Convey judgment or criticism about the student's substance abuse
• Make allowances for the student's irresponsible behavior
• Ignore signs of intoxication in the classroom
• Attempt to rescue the student, or get overly involved in the problem
• Step outside your role

University Counseling Center - (314) 977-TALK (8255)
Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards - (314) 977-7326