Responding to Emotionally Distressed Students
At Illinois Tech, faculty and staff have a responsibility to support students. In your role, you may work with a student who is exhibiting signs of distress, disclosed troubling behavior, or may have experienced a disturbance in their education. A way that you can assist a student who may need some assistance is by submitting an Incident Report. By submitting an Incident Report, a professional staff member within Student Affairs or academic support can follow up appropriately.
FAQs on Dealing With a Person in Distress
Q. How do I refer a student to counseling?
A: If you believe that the student would benefit from seeing a counselor, it is important to destigmatize seeking help and that talking to a therapist is healthy. It is also important that this conversation is private and there are no distractions. Discuss the observations you have made and why they might benefit from seeing a therapist from the Student Health & Wellness Center.
An example of approaching a student who might benefit from the counseling center is “It looks like you have been dealing with a lot of tough issues, I think it might be good to talk to the Student Health & Wellness Center. They are here to listen and it is confidential. If you would like I can walk with you.”
Q: How do I know if a student has visited the Student Health & Wellness Center?
A: Due to federal law and the privacy of the student, the Student Health & Wellness Center will not disclose if a student has visited the center.
Q: If I have walked a student to the Student Health & Wellness Center, what should I do next?
A: For many, seeking help can be vulnerable and hard to discuss. When walking a student to a triage appointment to the Student Health & Wellness Center, we ask faculty members to leave and empower the student to follow up with them if they need anything.
Q. Who should be made aware when I think there is a student who is in distress?
A: If you have a student who is exhibiting distressing behavior, but it does not require immediate action, submit an Incident Report at iit.edu/incidentreports. Once an incident report is submitted, the Office of Student Affairs follows up with the student through a professional staff member.
If you are unsure if the situation requires immediate attention, please feel free to call the Office of Student Affairs. The Dean of Students and/or designee will walk through the situation with you and discuss options.
Q: What is an Incident Report and who receives the Incident Report when it is submitted?
A: An Incident Report is official documentation about a situation or concern. It allows the Office of Student Affairs to appropriate document all communication and follow up that happens after the incident has occurred.
Q: How is information shared after an Incident Report is filed?
A: Protecting student privacy is a high priority of the SST. Records of the SST are kept confidential and shared only on a "need to know" basis in a manner consistent with University policy and the University's obligations under applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA").
For further information regarding FERPA, click here.