Team to help respond to students in distress

If you know of a student in distress or exhibiting behaviours that are concerning to you, the Assessment and Care Team (ACT) can help. ACT is tasked with implementing the University’s Behaviour Intervention Plan, assisting faculty and staff in responding to students struggling with emotional or mental issues.

The overarching goal of the plan is to create a safety net for students and to promote student well-being and contribute to a safe, caring, campus environment, says Karen Benzinger, acting executive director of Student Affairs.

“Attending University can be a fun and exciting experience. After all, it is a place for gaining knowledge, making lifelong friends and so much more,” says Mohsan Beg, director of the Student Counselling Centre. “But it can also be stressful, and there may be times when a student may struggle and exhibit signs or behaviours that may be concerning.”

The Assessment and Care Team is trained in behavioural intervention strategies and threat assessment. In addition to Dr. Beg and Benzinger, its members include Mike Mackinnon of Campus Community Police and Sandra Davis of Residence Services.

They will coordinate information and develop individualized intervention support plans for students who need it. In the months ahead, the team will reach out to faculty and staff to discuss the plan at departmental and other group meetings.

“We really need the members of the campus community to reach out to us when they are concerned about a student. A phone call to a member of the Assessment and Care Team is all it takes to activate an assessment of the situation and coordinated support for the student,” says Benzinger. “However, as always, call 911 and Campus Community Police (ext. 4444) in an emergency or crisis situation.”

For more information on the Behavioural Intervention Plan and how it can help students with behaviours of concern, visit or contact Benzinger at 519-253-3000, ext. 5072, or e-mail