Engage students early on and pay attention to any warning signs. Seek clarifying information regarding the student’s concern. Ask questions like:

  • “I’m really concerned about you. Can you tell me about what you are experiencing?”
  • “I’ve noticed [insert observation] and I’m concerned. Tell me about what’s going on.”
  • “I really care about you and your safety. How would you feel about us speaking with someone at the university?” (e.g. Madison Cares, JMU Counseling Center, or someone you both trust)

We know having a conversation isn’t always possible; however, we encourage faculty, staff, students, and parents to address their concerns with the student prior to submitting a Care Referral. Express your concern for them privately, and provide resources that could help. Speaking openly with the student about your concern and your decision to refer them lets the student know that you care about their success and that there are resources available.

Listen attentively and with empathy. Use a calm and sincere voice. Avoid using any threatening, humiliating, and intimidating responses.


The welfare of the campus community is priority. When an individual is displaying threatening or potentially violent behavior call for help (540-568-6911) and then submit a care referral.

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