This page is for the outside observer, to help you identify concerning behaviors and respond in your normal life. While we still encourage you to submit a concern to the CARE Team, we also recognize that that option is not always immediately available. If you feel a student requires immediate assistance or may not follow through on counseling on their own, you can walk them over to Counseling and Prevention Services in the Wellness Center.

If harm to self or others appears imminent or has already occurred, contact University Police at (316) 978-3450 or dial 911.

Do you have something else to report? Check out WSU's Report It page, your hub for reporting concerns.

Tips for Recognizing Persons in Distress

At one time or another everyone feels upset or distressed. However, there are three levels of concern which, when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are greater than the "normal" ones. It is important to consider each type of behavior in context for the individual in question. Some examples for each level of concern follow:

Troubling: Causes us to feel alarmed, upset, or worried for a person's well being.
  • Changes in academic performance in the classroom
  • Disjointed speech or writings
  • Persistent sadness or unexplained crying
  • Change in patterns of social interaction
  • Changes in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Problems concentrating and remembering things or making decisions
Disruptive: Interferes with or disrupts the educational process of other students or the normal functions of the University.
  • Vague threats to self or others
  • Demanding, verbally abusive, or intimidating behavior
  • High levels of irritability or inappropriate excitement
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
Threatening: Typically leaves us feeling frightened and in fear for our safety or the safety of others.
  • Physical confrontations or attacks
  • Direct threats of harming self or others
  • Displays a weapon
  • Sends threatening correspondence

If you are not sure about someone's wellbeing, submit a concern; it's best to err on the side of caution. A CARE Report will not get someone "in trouble."

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What you can do to help

Responses to Troubling Behavior
  • Initiate a private, nonconfrontive conversation with the person about your concerns
  • Identify options available to the individual and make referrals to campus resources for help
  • Assist the individual with accessing the departments to which you have referred
  • Make sure the person understands what action is necessary and make plans to follow up with them
Responses to Disruptive Behavior
  • Verbally ask that the disruptive behavior stop
  • If behavior does not stop, ask the person to leave the area, or leave yourself if necessary
  • Inform person of the expected behavior changes, timeline for changes, and the consequences should behavior not change by that time
  • If possible, discuss the reasons for the disruptive behavior and refer to a department with expertise in that area
  • Document the interactions
Responses to Threatening Behavior
  • Immediately contact University Police at 911 or (316) 978-3450
  • If it involves a student, also inform the Campus Life and University Relations Office
  • If it involves a staff member of the University, also inform the department chair/director or Human Resources
  • Consult with Counseling & Prevention Services to debrief and assist you once the initial crisis is resolved

Don't forget, the CARE Team is a resource at your disposal. If you're worried about someone's behavior, submit a concern to CARE.

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Responding to suicide concerns

When a person makes any reference to suicide, threat of suicide, or an attempt at suicide, a judgment should be made by a mental health professional about the seriousness of a possible suicidal thought or behavior. References to or threats of self harm should be taken seriously. Mental health evaluations and treatment are available through Counseling and Prevention Services at (316) 978-3440.

Suicide attempts are first and foremost a medical emergency. If dangerous or suicidal behavior appears imminent or has already occurred, contact University Police at (316) 978-3450 or dial 911.

To Save a Life, Remember SAS (Share, Ask, and Support):

Share your concern and ask the person to share
Ask the person if they are considering suicide
Support the person by helping them get in contact with resources and by staying in touch

For more information, you can take the WSUWeSupportU – Preventing Suicide training.

If you know someone who's thinking about suicide, has recently attempted suicide, or who has recently lost someone to suicide, don't wait. Let us know by submitting a concern.

Signs of Suicide

Signs that someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation include:

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
  • Frequent irritability or anger
  • Hopelessness, persistent guilt or shame
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Reckless or impulsive behavior
  • Giving away prized possessions and/or money
  • Writing a will
  • Talk of being a burden, others being better off without them, or death
  • Talk of plans to die by suicide
Risk Factors for Suicide

Factors in someone's life that indicate suicidal ideation and/or attempts are more likely:

  • Family history of suicide
  • History of abuse or mistreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental health concerns, particularly depression
  • History of behavioral health concerns, including alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts
Protective Factors for Suicide

These are some protective factors against suicide, or criteria that suggest someone is less likely to attempt or die by suicide.

  • Having a strong and reliable support network
  • Receiving effective and respectful care for physical, mental and behavioral health
  • Access to crisis and intervention services and resources
  • Existing in a supportive and understanding community, culture and/or society that does not  stigmatize mental health concerns or needing help
  • Skills and experience with problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes

Please note: These factors do not guarantee someone is not thinking about or planning suicide, nor does the absence of suicidal ideation mean that someone is not experiencing any distress. If you are worried about someone, please submit a concern.

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Student Death Notification Protocol

In the event of the death of a currently enrolled student, it is the responsibility of the campus to respond in a sensitive, sympathetic manner, and most importantly with a measure of dignity toward the student and their family and friends.

The death of a student can impact the entire campus community. The purpose of this document is to establish the responsibilities for notifications in an orderly, effective, and caring manner.

If someone receives information of a student’s death, they should immediately notify the Dean of Students at 316-978-3149 or Once notified, the Dean of Students will immediately begin the Campus Response and Notification Procedure.

For the Student Death Notification Protocol, click here (pdf). For the accessible version, click here.

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WSUWeSupportU – Preventing Suicide

For faculty, staff and students. Counseling & Prevention Services (CAPS) is offering one-hour suicide prevention courses to the WSU community in order to help individuals better identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of suicide. This course aims to help students, faculty, and staff learn how to better recognize, intervene, and provide resources for at-risk individuals who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Click here for student registration. For faculty/staff registration, please find WSUWeSupportU – Preventing Suicide in myTraining in myWSU.

For more information, contact Dr. Marci Young at

CARE Team Training

For faculty and staff. Do you want to learn how to respond to problem behavior in the classroom, in the workplace, or while you are out and about on campus? The CARE Team (formerly the University Behavior Intervention Team) is offering Campus Workshops that are designed to help you learn what you can do to help keep our campus safe. To learn more about CARE Team, click here. To register, go to myWSU, then go to the Faculty/Staff tab and click myTraining.

For more information, contact a member of the CARE Team at

Campus Safety and Social Responsibility

For faculty and staff. This training is to help increase awareness campus safety and social responsibility. To register, go to myWSU, then go to the Faculty/Staff tab and click myTraining.

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