At-Risk Behaviour

Who is an Individual at Risk?

An individual at risk is a member of the University Community who has exhibited Worrisome Behaviour.

What is Worrisome Behaviour?

Worrisome Behaviour is a person's words or conduct that, while not indicative of a clear immediate threat, still gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that they may be at risk of harming themselves or others.

Harm to themselves

Words or conduct that give rise to a reasonable concern that an individual may be at risk of hurting or harming themselves. Examples can include isolation or withdrawal, statements about suicide or dying, previous suicide attempts, hopeless or helpless statements, self-injury, disordered eating, or substance use/abuse.

Harm to others

Words or conduct that give rise to a reasonable concern that an individual may be at risk of hurting or harming others. Examples can include angry outbursts or hostile behaviour, altercations with others, direct or implied threats, statements or jokes about harming others, agitation, intimidation, or stalking-like behaviour. 

What are some examples of behaviors I might observe?

  • Noticeable changes in behaviour or appearance
  • A significant drop in performance or repeated absences
  • Evidence of depression, hopelessness or suicidal thoughts/statements
  • Inappropriate responses such as offensive comments or angry outbursts
  • Online posts or social media posts that allude to harm to self or others
  • Strained interpersonal relationships or isolating behaviours
  • Significant change in life circumstances such as loss of job or relationship
  • Comments or actions that are threatening

Specific Examples

Below are some examples of observed behaviours that may lead to concerns that an individual is at risk of harming themselves or others. Often there will be a noticeable change in behaviour or a pattern of behaviour. We encourage our partners on campus to trust their instincts and share the concerns that they have for others. The Helping Individuals at Risk Team can help assess the situation and identify any relevant risk factors, as well as discuss options for resources for the individual.

Harm to self

  • Expressions of hopelessness/helplessness
  • Extreme/prolonged sadness
  • Isolated or withdrawn
  • Giving away possessions
  • Saying goodbye statements
  • Talking or joking about suicide/death
  • Thoughts about suicide
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Planning or researching how to die
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Self-injury
  • Disordered eating or visible weight change
  • Substance use/abuse 

Harm to others

  • Angry outbursts
  • Altercation with others
  • Hostile or offensive remarks
  • Intimidation and bullying
  • Stalking-like behaviour
  • Sexual violence
  • Physical violence
  • Direct or implied threats
  • Statements or jokes about harming others
  • Researching or planning how to harm others
  • Focus on weapons or others who have engaged in harm


Harm to Both

  • Any of the examples from Harm to Self combined with any examples from Harm to Others
  • Plans for suicide that could reasonably harm others


Behavioural Concern (behaviours that are concerning, but have not yet met the threshold of harm to self or others)

  • Drop in performance
  • Missing assignments
  • Repeated absences
  • Anxiety/panic Attacks
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Agitated
  • Disruptive or disturbing behaviour
  • Inappropriate content in writing
  • Incoherent writing
  • Poor hygiene
  • Problems interacting with others