CARE Referral

The purpose of the CARE Team is to service as a collaborative group focused on prevention and early intervention for students experiencing serious distress or engaging in harmful or disruptive behaviors. Members of the W&J community (students, faculty, staff, or family members) are encouraged to complete a CARE referral is they are concerned that a student is exhibiting concerning behaviors or signs of distress. CARE referrals should only include objective, observable and factual information. We ask that you avoid labels, stereotypes and reporting based on hearsay or mere assumptions.

Through an online referral form, the CARE Team will be alerted to students of concern and will be able to review, assess and make recommendations for how best to assist reported students. The Team strives to intervene and assist students in meeting their academic, personal and professional goals at W&J.

Once received, a submission will be reviewed by a staff member to take appropriate action, which may or may not include contacting the student, you and witness identified.

If this is an emergency that involves imminent risk of hard to self or others, please contact Campus & Public Safety at 724-223-6032. Additionally, if this is a holiday, weekend or after business hours, and you are unsure if a student requires immediate assistance, please contact the Office of Campus & Public Safety.

To submit a referral, please click here: CARE Referral Form.

Behaviors of Concern/Signs of Distress

There may be subtle or overt indicators that a student is in a state of distress. When a single behavior (such as sadness or occasional withdrawal from others) may not indicate a problem, a pattern of behaviors or consistent decline in a student’s functioning may be serious and an intervention may prove useful.

Below is a list of concerning behaviors which may prompt completion of a CARE Team Referral.

Behaviors of Concern related to Academic Success:

  • Infrequent attendance or completely stopped attending class.
  • Procrastination, incomplete assignments, or turning in poor quality work.
  • Difficulty concentrating in class.
  • Drastic decline in grades.
  • Making repeated requests for special consideration without approved accommodations (i.e., extended deadlines).
  • Overly dependent on faculty member.
  • Sharing personal information that implies distress in other areas outside of the student’s academic life.
  • Expressing emotionally distressed, violent, or suicidal content in writing, emails, drawings, or during classroom discussion.
  • Exhibiting withdrawn behavior (i.e. non-communicative, isolating, and/or not responding to email/outreach attempts).
  • Exhibiting bizarre behavior (i.e. seemingly out-of-touch with reality, seeing/hearing things that are not there, exhibiting disjointed thoughts or paranoia).
  • Exhibiting disruptive classroom behavior (i.e. argumentative, confrontational, harassing, or socially inappropriate).

Behaviors of Concern related to Emotional State:

  • Significant changes in mood or daily functioning.
  • Decline in personal hygiene and appearance.
  • Difficulty caring for self (i.e. regular sleep pattern, concerning eating pattern, routinely over exercises).
  • Being under unusual amounts of stress.
  • Difficulty coping with stressful life circumstances (i.e. death of family members, financial strain, physical illness, disability).
  • Threatening self or others.
  • Taking action to harm self/others (obtaining weapons, overdosing on pills)
  • Contemplating suicide (i.e. giving away possessions, discussing death as a means to solve problems, wishing they were not alive).
  • Increased irritability or aggressive behavior (i.e. resentful, abrasive, hostile, frustrated).
  • Demonstrating behavioral extremes that are more exaggerated/erratic than normal (i.e. hyper/animated, severely withdrawn, impulsive, or reckless).
  • Excessive crying, clingy behavior
  • Rejecting help offered by others, or expressing hopelessness/worthlessness.

Behaviors of Concern related to Student’s Social Interactions:

  • Isolates self.
  • Has minimal social support and/or significant disengagement from social activities.
  • Alcohol or drug use that jeopardizes relationships, interferes with academic performance, or impairs daily functioning.
  • Being subjected to bullying or bullying others.
  • Demonstrates verbal or physical aggression toward others.
  • Argumentative behavior that is disproportionate to the situation.
  • Social media posts which cause alarm (contain references to harm to others/self, irrational emotions, behaviors or violence).

If something does not feel right and you are concerned for a student, please trust your intuition and consider submitting a CARE Team Referral. If you prefer to speak with someone, please contact Eva Chatterjee-Sutton, Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students (ecs@washjeff.edu) or 724-223-1360.

Parent/Family Referrals to the CARE Team

Your connection to your student/other students on campus is important. As a parent or guardian, you offer a valuable perspective to offer the CARE Team. Often providing information (current and historical) about your student and/or their peers that helps the CARE Team better conceptualize the student’s behaviors, struggles, and how to successfully approach your student with reasonable options.

We encourage family members to submit a CARE Team referral when there is a significant reason to be concerned about a student. Whether this student is your son or daughter, a roommate, or family friends, the CARE Team can be of assistance. We recognize that parental perspectives can vary, the following list provides some suggested contributions that families can offer:

  • Is the student missing multiple classes?
  • Is there something going on in our family (e.g., death, divorce, other significant event) that may negatively affect the student’s performance?
  • Has the student been ill for a long period of time?
  • Is the student presenting signs of being in distress (e.g., feeling overwhelmed, talking about “wanting to give up,” presenting other signs of significant stress)?
  • IS the student isolating them self?

Consider submitting a CARE Team Referral if you have concerns that may require additional support from multiple offices on campus. While one of the concerns listed above on its own may not trigger a CARE Team Referral, a combination of these concerns may be cause for concern. Any information you submit may initiate the process of identifying a student in distress, or may add to information we already have about a student.

If you are still unsure about whether to refer, please trust your intuition and consider submitting a CARE Team Referral. If you prefer to speak with someone, please contact Eva Chatterjee-Sutton, Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students (ecs@washjeff.edu) or 724-223-1360 or another member of the CARE Team.