There are many resources available at Caltech to help someone in distress. Your referral to the CARE Team can help connect an individual who is struggling with appropriate support and help that person avoid a more significant crisis. The behaviors listed below, especially when more than one are present, may be signs of distress:
- Mood or behavior changes
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Social withdrawal
- Excessive absences from class or lab
- Disinterest or disengagement in work
- Increased substance use
- Talking about death, dying, or suicide
- Disruptive behavior
- Aggressive behavior or social media postings
How to Access Urgent or Emergency Assistance
If you have an immediate concern about the safety of yourself, another individual or the community, please call Campus Security at 626-395-5000 for assistance. Campus Security will contact emergency personnel and guide them to the location if needed. If you are off-campus, please call 9-1-1.
If you have an urgent concern that can't wait until the next business day, but is not an emergency, please contact a member of the CARE Team during business hours for real-time consultation. A good place to start is the Graduate Office or Undergraduate Deans Office, and you may also consult with Counseling Services staff. If you need a consultation after hours, please call the Counseling Services main line, 626-395-8331, and press "2" to be connected with the on-call service. The clinician will ask you some screening questions and provide consultation, and may connect you to a Counseling Services staff member for additional assistance.
When to Refer
The CARE Team welcomes your referral for any concern. The CARE Team can function most effectively when it is able to "connect the dots" between various low-level concerns and identify ways to support students in a proactive fashion. If you notice any of the signs of distress listed above, please make a referral. You may also make a referral for minor concerns such as:
- Difficulty adjusting to Caltech
- Multiple requests for coursework extensions
- Difficulty making friends
- Disrespectful behavior
- Poor academic performance
What Happens Next?
CARE Referrals are reviewed by the team, and any urgent concerns are addressed in a timely fashion. In some cases, more information is required and a CARE Team member will reach out to the referring party to gather additional details. The Care Team member in the best position to reach out to the individual of concern will typically invite the individual to have a brief check-in meeting to learn which resources the individual is currently using, and help connect them to any other services that could help. When possible, a member of the CARE Team will be in touch with the referring party to follow up and explore how to best support the individual going forward.
In a situation where concern arises about an individual's personal safety or the safety of the community, a CARE Team member will make contact with the individual, learn more about the situation, and perhaps ask that the individual talk with a professional staff member for a safety risk assessment. These conversations are not punitive, and every effort is made to balance the autonomy of the individual with the safety of the community. In every case, the CARE Team strives to take a developmental approach that allows for individuals to access support and engage in activities that will reduce distress and further escalation or disruption to the community.