As the pandemic continues, the toll it has taken our mental health continues to be a frequent topic of concern.
So far this semester, the Office of the Dean of Students has seen an all-time high in student crisis referrals through the UCCS CARE Team, and many of our students are struggling with complex and significant challenges. This fall, we’ve seen a 21 percent increase in concerns overall, a 51 percent increase mental health concerns and a 200 percent increase in suicidal ideation reports.
As we approach the end of the semester, we anticipate our referral numbers will only rise. We are grateful to our faculty and staff for the care they provide to our students, and the support referrals they make to support student success.
We want you to continue to make referrals, but we also think it is important for faculty and staff to know many student support areas have developed internal triage plans in place to manage this unprecedented volume.
How the CARE Team addresses reports
When you make a report to the CARE Team, it is reviewed within one business day. Based on the information in the report, we conduct a safety and risk assessment and develop an outreach plan. When making a report, please include all relevant details in your referral. This helps us best assess the situation to better support a student.
Our first priority is always contacting students currently in crisis, especially those who have expressed serious mental health concerns or suicidal ideation. This outreach includes phone calls, text messages, emails, Microsoft Teams messages and sometimes in-person wellbeing visits.
Next, we prioritize students needing support, but not actively in crisis. This outreach often starts with an email to schedule a phone call or meeting; our efforts may escalate to other outreach methods if a student is not responsive to our initial emails.
We are all prioritizing student emergencies, so please be aware follow-ups on reports may be slower than you are used to. We appreciate your patience and compassion as we are all doing our best to help our students be successful.
Keeping up with student concerns
We know this crisis is impacting faculty and staff too, and it can be challenging keeping up with all the student concerns you receive. We want to remind you of few resources:
- The CARE Team website: a webpage with advice for supporting students through common challenges. Within each behavior or experience listed, you will see a quick summary of how to be helpful to students.
- CARE Connect: a quick tool for recognizing common signs of distress, and campus resources on where to report it.
- The UCCS Dean of Students website: a webpage with both campus and community resources to assist students.
- Silver Cloud Interactive Support Tool: a clinically-proven online platform with programs to help reduce symptoms of stress, improve your sleep and build resilience.
- Real Help Hotline: a 24-hour crisis response hotline available to all faculty and staff.
- Additional Resources: additional mental health resources available to faculty and staff.
Finally, we also want to remind you that if you are worried that someone is an immediate threat to themselves or others, contact campus police at 719-255-3111. CARE Team reports are reviewed promptly, but not instantaneously.
Thank you again for the care and support you provide our students.
About the Author
Amanda Allee is the Dean of Students at UCCS. She is a two-time alumna of UCCS, having earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree from the UCCS College of Education, and her bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Amanda also serves as a lecturer in the College of Education, having taught both undergraduate and graduate student affairs classes. Amanda’s research interests focus on fostering professional resilience and preventing burnout.