TCU has launched a Red Folder program in hopes of better equipping faculty and staff members to help students in crisis.
With a variety of on and off-campus resources available, faculty and staff members are often uncertain about which resource would best help a student in crisis.
TCU created a 911 Red Folder in August 2011 that provides a centralized location for faculty and staff members to access information when a crisis arises involving a student.
The folder lists contact information for various on and off-campus resources, such as the TCU Police Department and the Tarrant County Victim Assistance Unit.
“We wanted to provide something that covers all aspects and offers clear guidelines on how to respond to students in distress,” said Courtney Gumbleton, the TCU suicide prevention outreach coordinator.
The folder is geared toward helping faculty and staff better recognize students who appear distressed, hopeless or under the influence of an illegal substance. With the information supplied in the folder, faculty and staff can better refer the student to an appropriate resource to get help.
“The folder has safety tips, suicide prevention information, and covers an array of emergency resources that faculty and staff can utilize,” Gumbleton said.
The folder also provides information about how faculty and staff members should handle students who come to them with sexual misconduct allegation and also how to deal with students that come to class intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
The Counseling and Mental Health Center and the Campus Life Dean’s Office partnered to create this initiative. The idea behind the folder arose after UCLA launched a similar red folder program in 2011, Gumbleton said.
“This document pulls together all of the resources in one place so that faculty and staff have a single-source, comprehensive guide,” said Gumbleton.
The folder is one program initiated through the HOPE Initiative, which is a $243,982 grant that was awarded to TCU in 2012. The grant’s goal is to prevent suicides and suicidal behavior on campus.
“Before we were doing brochures called ‘Recognizing and Helping Students in Distress’, but we thought that the Red Folder would be good way to put more information at the tip of your fingers,” Assistant Dean of Campus Life Karen Bell Morgan said.
“We have also created a ‘how to recognize students in distress’ brochure for students that gives indicators to look for if a student has a concern about one of his or her peers,” Morgan said.
More than 76 percent of staff and faculty members that have received red folders said that they had an increased understanding of the services provided by the Counseling Center and Campus Life Office after using the folder, according to a survey conducted by the Campus Life Dean’s Office.
TCU hopes that all faculty and staff will eventually have access to the folders. The folders are provided to faculty and staff members after they undergo a brief training session.