Addressing or responding to a student in distress, or a student for whom you have concern, can be challenging. The A.L.E.R.T. model provides a step-by-step guide for faculty and staff:
Acknowledge by being specific and direct about the observation/behaviour that gives you cause for concern.
Listen to the student. Give the student your patient, undivided attention. This may require finding time and space for private conversation.
Engage the student, allow the student to share thoughts and feelings in a calm and compassionate environment. Avoid judgement or assumptions.
Refer the student to additional services. Let the student know that you are going to help connect them to appropriate support. Take time to get the student’s full name and contact information. If the student is in distress and requires immediate referral, contact the CARE Team (contact Security Services on evenings and weekends to reach on-call support). Otherwise, connect the student to the appropriate office, preferably by making a direct connection through face-to-face, phone or email introduction. At any time, if you would like to share your concerns about a student, you may send an email to the CARE Team. This is a small group of student services staff who work together to support students who may be at-risk.
Talk to Student Services staff members if you are concerned about a student. Share your observations, ask questions, and help create a plan for student success.
More information about Supporting Students in Distress, making student referrals, and the Royal Roads University procedures for responding to a student incident or student crisis are listed below.