Information for Faculty and Staff

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 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.