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Managing Suicidal Students on Campus

Why is this important: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students and close to 90% of suicides that occur on a college campus occur with students who hadn't set foot in the counseling center for help. Challenges related to accommodations, medical leave and student conduct often overlap with well-meaning administrators, faculty and staff trying to balance the needs of a single at-risk student with community safety. This five-person panel discussion covers each of these issues and includes excellent handouts and legal summary documents useful to navigate this space.


Description: The D-Prep team discusses the challenges of managing a suicidal student on campus while juggling the various requirements of student conduct and ADA/504 accommodations and how these relate to voluntary and required medical leaves. It is important to know the limitations of the code of conduct, how accommodations may impact the student’s ability to stay on campus, and the importance of understanding FERPA as it relates to parental notification.


We offer several case studies for conversation and example. The presenters discuss medical leave policy language, the legality of safety contracts, mandated treatment requirements, and the importance of documentation and consistency in how suicidal behavior is addressed across various cases. Issues of cultural competency in assessment and intervention are discussed as is the importance of offering referrals that address potential obstacles to care. Finally, we offer a review of important cases related to mental illness and removal from campus.


With Dr. Brian Van Brunt, Nina Delgadillo, Robert Scholz, Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, and David Denino.


Participants will learn:

  • The limitations of required and voluntary medical leave as it relates to suicidal behavior.
  • The importance of working with the student, their supports, parents, and treatment providers in collaboration with the campus BIT/CARE team.
  • How to identify the signs of suicidal behavior, triage and assess suicidal ideation, and work with on-campus clinical treatment providers, off-campus providers, and medication providers.


Course length: 1 hours, 26 minutes

Managing Suicidal Students on Campus

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