Faculty and staff at the California State University’s 23 campuses now have a resource that will help them recognize symptoms of student distress and identify appropriate referrals to campus resources.

The Red Folder urges CSU employees to intervene if they see a student in distress. The resource contains information on common signs of mental illness, how to respond in incidents where a student might be a threat to themselves or others, and who to contact on campus in case of an emergency. It also outlines which situations require police intervention or a referral to campus psychological services.

“The Red Folder is another effort that aligns with the CSU’s mission to sustain supportive campus environments focused on academic and personal wellness,” said Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Loren Blanchard. “Knowing that CSU students may seek support or counseling from faculty and staff, we want to make sure our employees are equipped with the tools and knowledge to appropriately assess a situation and provide referrals so students can get the appropriate help they need.”

To ensure it is accessible 24/7, the Red Folder exists in three forms: as a hard-copy folder, as a digital folder available on employee computers, and as a mobile application. The mobile app was developed by students and faculty in CSU San Bernardino’s School of Computer Science & Engineering.

The Red Folder was adapted from an initiative created by the University of California system. In collaboration with the UC, the CSU developed a workgroup of peer health educators and counselors to develop a program to meet the needs of the CSU and its students.

Red Folder is part of the CSU’s Mental Health Initiative, and is funded through the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63).

In 2011, the CSU received $7.1 million from Prop 63. With this funding, CSU faculty, staff and students have made substantial progress in increasing mental health awareness and campus resources. The CSU’s CalMHSA workshops, activities, events and trainings have reached more than 288,000 members of campus communities.​