New Students-at-Risk protocol introduced

Its colour is meant to ensure it is easily spotted in times of crisis.

The Identifying and Responding to Students in Distress document, known by many on campus as the Orange Folder, has been given an overhaul for the first time in more than five years.

A more comprehensive version of the helpful tool will be distributed to more than 1,500 staff and faculty across the University beginning Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The new document is expected to reach Brock offices in time for the campus-wide discussion on mental health prompted by the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 25.

“It has been significantly updated,” Student Affairs Manager Darryl Veld said of the folder, which for the first time contains a new Students-at-Risk Protocol that has been updated since being removed from Brock’s Student Code of Conduct.

The move was made to help reduce the stigma around mental health.

The stand-alone protocol outlines the response and outcomes that follow a disclosure of problematic behaviour.

The updated folder, created by the Students-at-Risk (SAR) team, includes information on triage of emergency and crisis situations.

“When someone is in a TA’s (teaching assistant’s) office and is having a difficult time, the TA can grab this. They’ll know who to call, what the number is and there will be no fumbling around on Google,” Veld said.

“Everyone should have it in a drawer near them.”

There are nine situations outlined in the document, with information included on whether an immediate response is required as well as potential next steps.

“We don’t expect them to be experts (on mental health), but that doesn’t mean they can’t make expert referrals,” Veld said of staff and faculty.

“There are eight of us on the Students-at-Risk team — 16 eyes. We’d like there to be 20,000 sets of eyes looking out for people with mental-health concerns and for them to be equipped with the tools to help.”

The document will be made accessible to every full-time staff and faculty member on campus.

Having the easily-accessible information at hand could mean diverting a crisis or offering assistance in what might be a life-or-death situation, Veld said.

“This information at your fingertips will help you work through this. Stay calm. Reach for the folder.”

The resource, he said, is meant to provide staff and faculty “confidence in what needs to be done and how to do it” when a sensitive situation presents itself.

The Students-at-Risk team acknowledged the work of Stacey Jury, Academic Accommodations Co-ordinator with the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, for playing a significant role in the folder’s redesign.

If you think you know of a student that is at-risk to themselves, contact Campus Security at 905-688-5550, ext. 3200.

If you’re unsure if there is a concern or for non-urgent matters, call Veld at ext. 4041.

Who to call on campus in emergency/crisis situations

  • Student Health Services, Harrison Hall: Physicians and Mental Health Nurse, 905-688-5550, ext. 3243
  • Personal Counselling, Schmon Tower, 400: Counsellors, 905-688-5550, ext. 3240
  • Campus Security, Kenmore Centre: Available 24 hours a day, 905-688-5550, ext. 3200

Who to call off campus in emergency/crisis situations


Local Distress Centres

  • Catharines and area 905-688-3711
  • Grimsby 905-563-6674
  • Port Colborne 905-734-1212
  • Fort Erie 905-382-0689

Niagara Health System Hospital Crisis Care

  • Catharines 905-378-4647 ext. 43230 or ext. 43231
  • Welland ext. 33407
  • Greater Niagara ext. 54919

Kids Help Line: 20 and under, 800-668-6868

Good2Talk: Ontario post-secondary help line, 866-925-5454

Call 911

Examples of common Student-at-Risk identifiers

  • Bullying behaviours focused on students
  • Verbal or non-verbal signs of suicidal thoughts or ideation
  • Direct communicated threat(s)
  • Prolonged non-verbal passive aggressive behaviour such as sitting with arms crossed, glaring or staring at professor
  • Self-injurious behaviour such as cutting
  • Deliberate conversations designed to scare
  • Psychotic, delusional, or rambling speech
  • Objectifying language that depersonalizes the professor or students
  • Threats of online assaults like hacking a website, sharing personal information, or posting pictures without permission
  • Continual spamming via email or otherwise with aggressive or bullying language

Examples of when resources other than the SAR team are appropriate

  • Misuse of technology in the classroom
  • Frequent interruption of professor while talking or asking non relevant questions
  • Inappropriate or overly revealing clothing or sleepwear
  • Crosstalk or carrying on side conversations while professor is speaking
  • Poor hygiene that leads to disruption
  • Arguing grades after professor requests student to stop
  • Students posts non-relevant spam or unrelated personal advertising material in class forum discussion board
  • Inappropriate or overly revealing pictures
  • Arrogant, entitled, rude or disrespectful emails or messages
Orange Folder group

A large group from various Brock University departments that support student wellness and discussions about mental health came together to show their support for the new Identifying and Responding to Students in Distress folder that was distributed across campus beginning Tuesday.

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