SKIP TO PAGE CONTENT

Suicide Threat Response Policy


Policy Statement

Suicide is a leading cause of death among college-aged students (Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2016; Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2014). Hence, the North Central Texas College District (College) is committed to the welfare and safety of its students, college community, and the integrity of the learning environment, while balancing the needs and rights of the student.

The purpose of this policy is to protect and support the emotional and behavioral health and well-being of students by establishing procedures, programs, training, and education to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to self-harming and suicidal behavior.

Definitions

Re-enrollment
Refers to a student that has voluntarily or involuntarily withdrawn from the College (and all classes) due a medical or mental health emergency (e.g., suicide attempt or hospitalization for suicidal or self-harming behaviors), and seeks to re-enroll at the College in the upcoming or subsequent semester.

Re-entry
Refers to a student that is currently enrolled in classes but has been unable to attend classes for a temporary period of time due to a medical or mental health emergency (e.g., suicide attempt or hospitalization for suicidal or self-harming behaviors), and seeks to return to current semester classes after the medical or mental health emergency.

Self-harm
Self-harm is an intentional or deliberate behavior causing injury or attempted injury to oneself, but non-suicidal.

Suicide
Suicide is deliberately terminating one's own life or death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior (CDC, 2016).

Suicide Attempt
A suicide attempt is a failure in attempting to deliberately take one's own life or a non-fatal self-directed potentially injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior (CDC, 2016).

Suicidal Behaviors
Suicidal Behaviors are behaviors which include thoughts of ending one's own life (ideation), plans and formulation of specific methods or strategies for suicide, and attempts to engage in taking one's own life.

Suicidal Ideation
Suicidal Ideation is fantasizing, thinking about, considering, or planning a deliberate behavior or action with the intent to end one's own life.

Reporting Responsibility of Employees

College employees observing any behavior or obtaining information regarding a student's expressions, threats, plans or attempts related to suicide or self-harming behaviors are expected to immediately report the matter to Campus Police or contact 911.

If the employee observes or receives first-hand information (directly from a student exhibiting suicidal or self-harming behaviors) the employee must immediately call 911 and share the student's name, description, details of the matter, and the student's location and/or destination (if known) with law enforcement personnel. If possible, College employees should attempt to maintain visual contact with the student until law enforcement arrives.

All suicidal expressions, threats, and/or attempts should be taken seriously. No attempt to independently evaluate the validity or imminence of the suicidal ideation should be made, except by law enforcement or a designated official from the NCTC Counseling and Testing Services Office.

Reporting Responsibility of Students

Students observing or obtaining information regarding a student's expressions, threats, plans or attempts related to suicide or self-harming behaviors should immediately report the matter to Campus Police or contact 911, and also obtain assistance from the nearest College employee.

If a student observes or receives first-hand information regarding a student exhibiting suicidal or self-harming behaviors, the individual should immediately call 911 and share the student's name, description, details of the matter, and the student's location and/or destination (if known).

Reporting to and Communications with Others

The College Chief of Police, in consultation with the appropriate College officials, will determine the appropriate College official responsible for any and all communications regarding the incident to other faculty, staff, students or other parties.

To the extent permitted by law, the College will make every effort to respect the privacy of its students, employees, and third parties.

Employees seeking personal or emotional support due to the incident should contact the Director of Human Resources for assistance.

Students seeking personal or emotional support due to the incident should contact a campus counselor through NCTC Counseling and Testing Services.

Parental Notification

In situations where a student is assessed at-risk for suicide or self-harming behaviors, the student's parent, guardian and/or emergency contact listed with the College may be informed, as provided by law, by campus police or appropriate College official, given there is no further risk of harm due to parental or guardian notification.

Consultation with Outside Agencies

When appropriate, campus police and appropriate College officials may communicate and collaborate with outside law enforcement agencies, medical facilities and/or mental health professionals during any stage of risk assessments.

Procedures

Upon receipt of notification of a credible report of suicidal behavior, campus police will take immediate action to assess the risk of suicide, and take the appropriate preventative actions as determined by campus police, which may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Involving and consulting with a College counselor
  • Involuntary or voluntary transport and admittance of the student to a mental health facility for evaluation and assessment
  • Requesting a counselor be present for faculty, staff and students affected by the incident for mental and emotional support
  • Referring the incident to the Behavioral Intervention Team to:
    • Review all reports, documents, and pertinent information
    • Interview and consult with pertinent parties
    • Assess immediate and on-going risks
    • If applicable, deploy counselors to provide emotional support for faculty, staff and students affected by the incident
    • Determine on-going assessments, support services, class reductions, enrollment status, involuntary or voluntary withdrawals, and/or conditions for re-entry (continued enrollment) or re-enrollment

Re-entry After Suicide Attempt or Hospitalization

For students seeking re-entry to the College after a suicide attempt, or hospitalization due to suicidal or self-harming behaviors, the Behavioral Intervention Team or appropriate College counselor will meet with the student to discuss a return to classes and the student's ability to succeed in the college environment.

The student may be required to provide an assessment or release to return to College upon discharge from a licensed mental health professional or private practitioner with appropriate credentials. If, after reviewing the documentation provided by the student's mental health professional or private practitioner, the College requires additional information regarding the: 

  • Student's ability to return to the College and successfully participate in the educational environment
  • Student's risk of causing danger to themselves or others
  • Support services and/or on-going assessments for the student's success

The College may ask the student to sign an authorization allowing the Behavioral Intervention Team to communicate with the student's mental health professional or private practitioner for purposes of making an individualized and objective assessment of the student's ability to participate in the educational program.

The College's individualized and objective assessment will take into account the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of a student's direct threat to the health and safety of self or others; the probability that the potentially threatening injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk of a student's direct threat to the health and safety of self or others. If the Behavioral Intervention Team determines there is a direct threat to the health and safety of self or others, the College will determine whether the student is currently qualified for the educational program and may deny re-entry to the College on this basis.

Withdrawal from College

A student may decide to voluntarily withdraw from the College if the withdrawal is in the best interest of the student's well-being and safety; however, an assessment or release from a licensed mental health professional or private practitioner with appropriate credentials may be required prior to the student's re-enrollment.

The student can obtain an assessment or release from a licensed mental health professional or private practitioner with appropriate credentials at his or her own expense.

Standards of Self-welfare and Conditions for Re-entry or Reenrollment

The Behavioral Intervention Team, after consultation with the appropriate College officials, licensed mental health professional or practitioner, and/or parents or guardians, may: 

  • Deny re-entry or re-enrollment, specifying the period of denial, the reason for the denial, and conditions for review of reenrollment after the denial period expiration
  • Approve re-entry or re-enrollment without conditions
  • Approve re-entry or re-enrollment, and set forth standards of self-welfare and conditions for re-entry or re-enrollment, including, but not limited to:
    • Ongoing assessments with a College counselor
    • Ongoing assessments with an outside mental health professional or practitioner at the student's own expense
    • Participation in educational and prevention workshops or seminars, on or off campus
    • Agreement to consistently take any medications as prescribed by a mental/medical professional or practitioner
    • Other support and prevention programs as determined by the Behavioral Intervention Team, appropriate College counselor, or private practitioner

Failure or refusal to adhere to the standards of self-welfare and conditions for re-entry or re-enrollment may result in an immediate involuntary withdrawal from the college.

Appeal

A student who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Behavioral Intervention Team has five calendar days to appeal, in writing, to the College President or designee. Any subsequent decision of the College President or designee is final.

Refunds and Academic Encumbrances

Refunds and academic encumbrances shall be handled in accordance with College policies governing exemptions and waivers due to an approved hardship or other good cause.

Confidentiality and Records Maintenance

All records associated with reported incidents are maintained in accordance with College Policies and do not appear as part of the student's academic record unless otherwise provided by law.

Any records associated with assessments may be protected by federal and state laws regarding confidentiality.

Education, Awareness Programs and Training

The College President or designee shall appoint a committee to develop educational, intervention and awareness programs as well establish training for faculty, staff and students in the detection, prevention, awareness, understanding and reporting of suicidal and self-harming behaviors. This committee shall also review applicable college policies and procedures to ensure they meet the needs of the students and college community on annual basis.