Working at the Crossroads of Campus Safety and Mental Health:  Prioritizing Safety while Effectively Managing Student’s Emotional Well-Being

Erin CarciaErin Carcia (left)
Babson College
Associate Director/Administrative Lieutenant, Public Safety

Jan Holton
Babson College
Director, Counseling Services


Statistically, students are much more likely to die by suicide than from an act of aggression or violence, yet much of the training campus police and public safety receive focuses on protecting students from potential harm at the hands of others.  As significant mental health issues become more prevalent on college and university campuses, we recognize that such issues are often factors when dealing with safety concerns. We also acknowledge the challenges for campus police and public safety officers when dealing with students who may present a safety risk, yet also suffer from mental illness. A partnership between public safety and mental health professionals in response to these situations is key to successful outcomes.

We will discuss how to create a comprehensive training and response format which focuses on safety along with a consideration of a student’s emotional well-being when some form of mental illness is a potential factor. Through collaboration between campus police, counseling services, the behavioral intervention (CARE) team, and others, we will examine the current challenges when issues of diversity, mental illness, substance use and threats of harm to self and others overlap.

Through dialogue and practical training sessions, Babson College has developed an effective collaboration between campus safety and counseling services to address such situations.  We will share our training and response protocols, as well as some of our successes and ongoing challenges through case examples involving our Public Safety Department, Crisis Response Team, CARE team, and Counseling Services.


  • How to develop a training program which provides Public Safety officials a more detailed overview of mental health factors and considerations, to assist them in providing the most appropriate response and support for students in crisis.
  • How to create opportunities for dialogue that allow both mental health professionals and Public Safety officials to have a better understanding of their respective mindsets and areas of expertise.
  • Present a model of an established BIT/CARE team of coordinated communication among stakeholders, including Public Safety, involved in managing situations and managing students of concern, including debrief/after action plans.
  • How to integrate mental health situations into Crisis and Emergency Management Planning with consideration of the impact of these situations on the larger community.


Full 2018 Conference Schedule