We are a campus that cares about the health and safety of all individuals in our campus community. As members of the campus community, we focus on supporting students by creating an atmosphere that encourages student mental health.

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If you have a concern for your immediate safety or that of a student, do not hesitate to call the UMass Lowell Police at 978-934-4911.

UMASS LOWELL IS COMMITTED TO THE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF OUR STUDENTS UMatter2 ImageThe issue of mental health and well-being in college students is in the forefront of discussions and of concern for everyone in higher education no matter their role in supporting students. UMass Lowell is implementing a community wide program to raise awareness of the role every member of the campus community has in creating an environment that supports positive mental health in our students.  UMass Lowell joined JED Campus, a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation (JED) designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.

The following information is here to help you better support students in their mental health by knowing some warning signs of students who may be struggling as well as appropriate resources to which you can direct students.

Students who are struggling may often present changes in key areas.

Be mindful of all changes in student behavior.


Academic signs:

  • Deterioration in quality or quantity of work
  • Repeated absences or lateness from class or commitments
  • Disorganized or erratic performance
  • Falling asleep in class

Physical signs:

  • Change in energy level—either an increase or decrease
  • Change in personal hygiene or appearance
  • Frequent state of intoxication
  • Changes in diet or weight—either loss or gain

Emotional signs:

  • Significant emotional distress, including anger, irritation, sadness or extreme happiness
  • Withdrawing from friends or previously enjoyed activities
  • Expressions of hopelessness and fear
  • General low mood

Warning signs that someone may be considering suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself (e.g., searching online)
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Giving away favorite possessions

How do you determine who you should contact?

There are many different resources available on campus, and knowing when to use them is key.

To gauge whether a student is at risk to themselves or others, ask: Have they left you with an uneasy feeling with respect to their safety or the safety of others? Trust your instincts.

If you have any concerns for a student’s safety, always err on the side of caution. Call Campus Police at 978-934-4911 and let them assess the level of urgency.

If you are concerned about a student’s general well-being but are not concerned for their immediate safety, contact the STARs team (Student Assessment and Referral) by submitting a referral via the STARs website. STARs is a collaborative team made up of professionals from multiple campus offices that are responsible for assessing student behavior that has concerned someone at the university.

In addition to contacting STARs, you may suggest to the student other resources that further meet their individual needs. For example, Counseling Services, Disability Services and Health Services can be helpful depending on the situation. Be mindful of the warning signs and direct them to the appropriate resource.

If you have a concern for a student’s immediate safety, do not hesitate to call the UMass Lowell Police at 978-934-4911 to have them assess the situation.

What is your level of concern for this student’s safety?

High Red


The student is exhibiting behavior that indicates there may be a safety concern regarding potential harm to themselves or others. The student is in immediate need of assistance.

Call the UMass Lowell Police Department at 978-934-4911 or ext. 4-4911.

Not Sure


Indicators of distress are apparent, leaving you with a feeling of unease or uncertainty, but you are not worried about an imminent threat of harm to self and/or others.


You should also consult with Counseling Services.

Low Green


There are no immediate safety concerns; however, the student could use some academic or personal support. Refer them to appropriate campus resources.


What about FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits communication about a student of concern if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals.

UMass Lowell faculty and staff may disclose personal identifiable information from an educational record to appropriate individuals in connection with a health and safety concern. Additionally, information can be shared with university personnel when there is a specific need to know and should be limited to the essentials of university business. Such information should be shared with appropriate consideration for student privacy.

If faculty or staff are not sure whether information should be released or to whom it should be released, questions or concerns should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs. If it is an emergency, Campus Police should be contacted immediately.

Response Tips

  • Safety First— If a student displays significant emotional distress, the safety of both the student and campus community should always be top priority. Do not hesitate to call Campus Police if someone is displaying behavior that concerns you.
  • Trust your Instincts— If you experience any sense of unease about a student, it is important to pay attention to those inner signals.
  • Listen Sensitively and Carefully— Use a calm voice, a compassionate attitude, and non-threatening body language. Maintain eye contact and avoid judgmental or threatening responses.
  • Be Proactive— Early intervention is best; engage a student as soon as you notice something.
  • Be Direct— Do not be afraid to ask whether a student is under the influence of substances, feeling confused, or having thoughts of harming themselves or others.
  • Follow Through— Direct a student to appropriate resources.
  • Consult and Document— Your firsthand knowledge and personal connection to your student is valuable in understanding and appropriately responding to their situation. Always share concerning interactions with your supervisor and feel free to document an incident through a STARs referral.

Recognize & Respond

What if a student is…RecognizeRespond
AnxiousExcessive worry, guilt, or nervousness, inability to stay focused in class, complaints of difficulty breathing, palpitations, sweating, or shaking
  • Express concern and care. Avoid criticizing, blaming, sounding judgmental or minimizing the situation.
  • Encourage and support the student.
  • Refer to counseling services (978-934-6800).
  • Submit a STARs referral to ensure the student receives additional outreach.
DepressedDiminished academic performance, missing classes, lack of energy / motivation, irritability, deterioration in personal hygiene, overall low mood, significant weight change, alcohol or drug misuse
Shows visible signs of injuryFresh cuts, wounds, or other potential evidence of self-injury are visible.
Students are withdrawing and/or making statements that suggest a desire to harm themselves
  • Maintain a calm demeanor. Express concern and care.
  • Call UMass Lowell Police (978-934-4911) or ext. 4-4911 if there is a potential threat to student’s safety or the safety of others.
  • Always take suicidal statements, thoughts, or behaviors seriously.
At risk for suicidal ideationWritten or verbal statements with theme of death, harm or hopelessness, withdrawal from day-to-day activities, giving away items, statements such as “everyone is better off without me” or “I hate my life”
DisruptiveUnwarranted interruptions, hostile or abusive behavior, failure to follow directions
  • Call UMass Lowell Police (978-934-4911) or ext. 4-4911 if there is a potential threat to student’s safety or the safety of others.
  • Explain the impact of the student’s behavior on the group or class.
  • Outline expectations verbally and in the class syllabus.
  • Submit a STARs referral to ensure the student receives additional outreach.
Disclosing information about potential sexual misconductReferences to sexual assault, violence, harassment, or stalking in conversations, papers, projects, etc.; visible injuries or bruising, emotional or physical response towards topics related to sexual violence
  • Call UMass Lowell Police (978-934-4911) or ext. 4-4911 if there is a potential threat to student’s safety or the safety of others.
  • Remain calm and actively listen to and believe the student’s disclosure.
  • Avoid criticizing, blaming, or judging the student. Avoid promising confidentiality.
  • Notify the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ann_Ciaraldi@uml.edu or by phone: 978-934-2104.
Misusing substances such as alcohol or marijuanaVisibly intoxicated/high in class, excessive sleepiness or hyper energy, references to alcohol or drug use, changes in physical appearance (bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, trembling hands).
  • Engage the student in a conversation about their behaviors in class, expressing concern and care for them.
  • Refer them to the Wellness Center (978-934-6800).
  • A referral does not guarantee help.
  • Please also submit a STARs referral to ensure the student receives additional outreach.

Workshops & Training Opportunities

Visit the UMatter2 Workshops & Events webpage to learn more about training opportunities that can help you identify and support students in need.

If you have a concern for a student’s immediate safety, do not hesitate to call the UMass Lowell Police at 978-934-4911 to have them assess the situation.