NaBITA Risk Rubric

The NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool is a researched based expert system tool useful for the initial triaging of mental health concerns and the potential for threat. The tool should be used in conjunction with further training and study. A starting place for this would be to read the documents linked at the bottom of this page or contacting the author Brian Van Brunt.

  1. Is the person actively suicidal with an expressed lethal plan or suicidal actions?
  2. Does the individual engage in extreme self-injurious behaviors such as cutting, burning, or eating behaviors (binge/purge) that put them at life-threatening risk?
  3. Does the person engage in impulsive violence or make serious threats of violence? This violence is due to an individual’s emotional health and/or impulsive, reactionary behavior. Examples include:
    1. repeated severe attacks while intoxicated or brandishing a weapon;
    2. making threats that are concrete, consistent, and plausible in reaction to an emotionally-driven event;
    3. and/or impulsive stalking that presents a physical danger.
  4. Has the individual lost touch with reality (hearing or seeing things that are not there)? Are they reacting to dangerous delusions or paranoid beliefs which create risk of grievous injury or death? For example, a belief that the CIA is spying on them, resulting in them taking life-threatening actions (cutting through all of the electrical wires in the home, running into traffic) to prevent them from spying.
  5. Is the person engaging in life-threatening substance use (repeated acute alcohol intoxication with medical or law enforcement intervention, multiple DUIs, chronic risky substance use)?
  6. As a result of life stress or emotional health, is the person’s behavior destructive, increasingly disruptive (multiple incidents), or bizarre in a way that significantly impacts those around them?
  7. Is the individual engaging in high-risk substance abuse or non-lethal, disordered eating or self-injury (e.g. cutting or burning self with no risk of death or serious harm)?
  8. Is the person communicating direct thoughts of suicide that lack lethality or immediacy?
  9. Is the person making threats of affective, impulsive, or poorly planned violence which are driven by their emotional health or life stressors? Examples include comments like “why don’t we just take this outside?” or “I’m going to make their life a living hell.”
  10. Does the person make threats that are vague, indirect, implausible, and lack detail or focus?
  11. Is the individual demonstrating difficulty managing their emotions or experiencing stress and challenges in their behavior stemming from chronic mental illness, mild substance abuse, or disordered eating? The resulting behaviors do not overly disturb others, present a significant medical concern, but they are noticed and cause for concern?
  12. Is the individual demonstrating poor coping skills related to an event such as failing an assignment, stress from home or family, a relationship loss, etc.? Typically, the negative behavior or stress would dissipate when the stressor is removed or the person is connected to resources.
  13. Is the person experiencing situational stressors and demonstrating appropriate coping skills?
  14. Does the individual have a fixed way of seeing the world or an issue that could be described as hardened or crystalized? These are typically related to politics, religion, social justice, academic standing, relationship status, or money/power.
  15. Does the person reject beliefs that don’t agree with their own or filter out material that doesn’t line up with their beliefs? Do they limit their exposure to alternative perspectives? And/or do they move from a deadlocked debate to non-verbal gestures to communicate their growing frustration?
  16. Does the person express their hardened point of view to others, filtering out opposing ideas or detracting viewpoints leading to a polarizing tendency? AND/OR Does the person storm off when frustrated or argue with others with the intent to embarrass or shame them?
  17. Is there brief, impulsive, reactive and/or poorly planned physical violence that is driven by the individual’s hardened perspective?
  18. Has the individual narrowed down their frustrations with a fixation and/or focus on a particular target? Are they enlisting others in their frustration toward the target to support their point of view? Does the individual now create an outcast of their target in an effort to unmask or embarrasses them in the community?
  19. Have threats or ultimatums been made, typically around what will happen if perceived injustices and grievances are not addressed? (e.g. “If you don’t change my grade, I will make your life a living hell.”) The threats may be vague but direct or specific but indirect. They are becoming more targeted and repeated.
  20. Does the person have any of the following:
    1. Issued a threat which is credible, repeated, and specific?
    2. Leakage of an attack plan through a list, video, or social media post?
    3. Their behavior indicative that they are moving toward violence by using increasingly militaristic or tactical language, and/or increasingly driven toward a singular outcome with a hopelessness and desperation?
    4. They have a clear fixation on a target or demonstrate increased research of an attack plan with access to lethal means?

Please contact Brian Van Brunt ( or Makenzie Schiemann (>) with any questions.

Note: Dangerousness and violence, from a student , faculty, or staff member is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately predict. This training topic offers research-based techniques and theories to provide a foundational understanding and improved awareness of the potential risk. The training or tool should not be seen as a guarantee or offer any assurance that violence will be prevented.

Learn more by reading NaBITA’s white paper Learn more by seeing our NaBITA Tri-fold Learn more by seeing the flow chart logic