Student Suicide: What College and University Administrators Need to Know

As an administrator in higher education, you are responsible for making decisions regarding the behavior of students experiencing mental health concerns such as suicidality or non-suicidal self-injury. Your task is to provide supportive and appropriate care for these students while ensuring the safety of the broader community. However, this can be a difficult and complex process, as you must navigate ethical, moral, and legal implications while adhering to federal regulations and disability laws.

In recent years, schools have faced increased pressure from various groups to respond appropriately to the mental health needs of students. It is essential to balance supporting individual students, protecting the community’s safety, and preserving the institution’s reputation and program integrity.

This workshop will provide practical solutions for everyday challenges that administrators face, with special consideration for how ADA/504 and other case law impact how institutions can/should/must respond. Your team will learn how to support students with mental health issues, including suicidality and non-suicidal self-injury, returning from a behavioral health hospitalization, as well as navigating leaves, involuntary withdrawals, conditions for return, privacy, and confidentiality concerns. Additionally, the role of Behavioral Intervention Teams (BIT) and behavior agreements will be discussed. Balancing individual students’ needs with the community’s safety is delicate, and this workshop will help you navigate these challenges confidently.

After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the role of student conduct in addressing behaviors that may violate the code of conduct.
  • Interpret ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act about involuntary withdrawal policies, the “direct threat” test, and reasonable accommodations.
  • Identify allowances and limitations to privacy/information sharing of various stakeholders under FERPA, confidentiality laws, and privileges.
  • Utilize the campus Behavioral Intervention Team to mandate assessment and support suicidal students before, during, and after a behavioral hospitalization or leave of absence.

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