Advice line offers support to campus members

Are you worried about a student in your class, bothered that your roommate has been acting differently, or concerned about the behavior of a co-worker?

The new Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL), 512-232-5050, now provides a central resource to anyone who is concerned about an individual and may not be sure about how best to help him or her. The 24-hour phone service provides support, advice and referrals to students, faculty and staff with concerns about the behavior of a member of the university community.

Calls to BCAL are received by trained university staff members who give each call individualized care and assistance. Depending on the situation, callers may be referred to resources including, but not limited to, the Office of the Dean of Students/Student Emergency Services, UT Counseling and Mental Health Center, the Employee Assistance Program and The University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD). Callers have the choice to remain anonymous.

In response to the April 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech, the university reviewed its ability to identify and assist potentially distressed individuals on campus. Findings show that while the university offers excellent resources for identifying and addressing behavioral concerns, many members of the university do not know what resources are available to them or how to find them. Creating a centralized number was suggested as a way to provide a readily available and familiar service for members of the university.

"BCAL offers a dedicated resource for campus members to call and speak with a trained staff member to discuss their concerns and to explore what options are available to them," says LaToya Hill, program coordinator, the Office of the Dean of Students. "BCAL also helps fulfill the university's efforts to create the safest environment possible on our campus."

Here are some examples of situations in which faculty, students or staff may need advice:
-- A faculty member may come across an essay containing comments that suggest a student is experiencing serious emotional issues.
-- A student may appear to be distressed in class and her behavior is somewhat out of the ordinary.
-- A staff member notices that a co-worker has been yelling at people and seems angry all the time.
-- Students may notice that their teaching assistant's behavior is unpredictable sometimes the teaching assistant does not show up for class, is perhaps not making much sense during lectures, or seems to have stopped caring about his appearance.

BCAL is a partnership of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Counseling and Mental Health Center, the Employee Assistance Program and UTPD.

A BCAL training team is available to coordinate sessions for any university group interested in learning more about the service. Brochures and training session information may be obtained by calling the BCAL line at 512-232-5050. Information is also available on the BCAL Web site at