The Terriers Connect training program teaches members of the Boston University community to identify signs of distress, develop effective skills for communicating with and supporting students, and provide accurate information about referrals to mental health professionals. Terriers Connect is committed to creating a community at Boston University that understands the conversations that surround mental health are hard, but necessary. Trainings are offered for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in becoming official “gatekeepers” within the program.

What Is a Gatekeeper?

Being trained as a gatekeeper does not mean becoming a therapist! However, we know that most students in distress will turn to someone outside of the mental health field (e.g., a friend, teacher, or family member) before seeking professional help. In addition, studies show that most college students who attempt suicide never speak with a mental health professional before making an attempt. Because of this, we recognize the importance of building a strong network of people in our community who are equipped to support students in distress. Terriers Connect helps build such a community.

Gatekeeper Training

Terriers Connect is a two-hour, interactive training program designed for a wide variety of campus personnel and students (e.g., faculty, residence life staff, academic advisors, student groups, etc.). A Terriers Connect gatekeeper training session includes:

  • Review of college student suicide statistics and facts
  • Discussion of suicide myths and warning signs
  • Instruction on how to ask students if they are thinking about suicide and how to refer students to mental health professionals
  • Review of effective communication and relationship-building skills
  • Discussion of typical emotional reactions experienced both by students in crisis and responding gatekeepers
  • Participation in experiential exercises
  • Participation in a guided group role play

How Do I Get Trained?

Interested in attending a training or setting up a training for your campus group or department? Please send an email to tercon@bu.edu.

Information for Students

You may not realize it, but many of the professors and staff with whom you interact on a day-to-day basis have been trained through Terriers Connect. You may have seen stickers with the Terriers Connect logo on your professors’ or advisors’ office doors. These people (called “gatekeepers”) have been trained to listen to students in distress and help direct them to resources that can help. Sometimes gatekeepers might merely lend a listening ear, while at other times they might help connect you with a mental health professional or other campus resources. Whatever the situation, they are there to help.