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st xavier university in chicago



    Distressing Students

      Faculty & Staff

      Counseling and Career Services
                      August 2008

August, 2008

Dear Colleague,

"Do you have a minute?"

Our students regularly approach faculty and staff members at Saint Xavier
University with a request for their time to ask a few questions related to class, and
sometimes end up discussing a personal problem instead. How will you know
when they need more help than you can give them?

We are pleased to provide you with an updated edition of "Distressed and
Distressing Students: A guide to assist faculty and staff in making referrals to
Personal Counseling." Many students seek your support and guidance, and this
booklet is designed to help you determine what type of support each student
needs. As the size of our student body increases, more and more students may
seek your attention. We count on you to inform them of the support services
available to help them succeed at Saint Xavier University.

We hope you find this booklet useful. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any
questions you have, both now and in the future. We are located in Counseling and
Career Services, Room L108. You may also call (773) 298-3131 or e-mail

This booklet is dedicated to Barbara Costello whose vision and passion for
student welfare led to its creation and the establishment of the Safety Net

Thank you for your help with supporting our students.
Sincerely yours,

Nancy Bonnevier, LCPC
Managing Director of Student Development
Director of Counseling Services
Counseling and Career Services

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS



       A. Who are the Personal Counselors and where can they be found?
       B. Eligibility for services
       C. Will students be seen right away?
       D. Should you refer to a particular Counselor?
       E. Confidentiality


       A.   If a student asks for help
       B.   If a student displays distress
       C.   Students at risk of academic failure
       D.   Students who believe they have been a victim


       A. Making a referral because of problem behavior
          1) Emergency situations
          2) Observed behavior
       B. Making a referral to determine emotional stability or mental fitness



       A. Transportation Policy
       B. Emergency Incident/Reporting Protocol
       C. Non-emergency Incident/Reporting Protocol

This information is provided to Saint Xavier University faculty and staff in order to help
decide when to refer a student for Personal Counseling services, when to notify
Residential Life, Public Safety or call 911.

Saint Xavier University administrators, faculty, staff and students have long been
characterized by their commitment to helping others. Knowing when it's appropriate to
help students, and when you are "in over your head" may pose a dilemma. While your
role as teacher, advisor, dean, coach, administrator, residential aid or supervisor gives
you many opportunities to get to know students on a personal basis, the role itself is not
compatible with becoming deeply involved with their personal problems.

When in doubt, make a referral or contact the proper party to handle the situation. The
intent of referring is not to get rid of a student, but to connect them with appropriate
resources. It is often helpful to refer the student to Personal Counseling, informing them
that this is a free service for people just like them who are struggling with personal

We also urge you to err on the side of caution. If you suspect a student is struggling
with personal issues, trust your instincts and contact our office for a consultation.

A. Who are Personal Counselors and where can they be found?

Personal Counseling is part of Counseling and Career Services, in Room L108. The
office is staffed by Licensed Professional Counselors.

B. Eligibility for services

Counseling services are available, free of charge, to currently enrolled undergraduate
and graduate students as well as alumni on a limited basis. Students will be assessed,
and based on their need, will either be given an appointment with a counselor or a
referral to an appropriate agency or outside resource. Students under 18 years old will be
seen under State of Illinois guidelines which apply to counseling services for minors.

C. Will students be seen right away?

Students should normally be encouraged to make an appointment to see a counselor.
Students in severe crisis will be seen as soon as a counselor is available, often without
an appointment. Depending on the circumstances, students may be referred to outside
practitioners, sources for assessment and/or more intensive clinical treatment.

D. Should you refer to a particular Counselor?

No. Personal Counseling appointments are made according to Counselor availability and
student needs. When making a referral, it is preferable that you not give students the
name of a particular Counselor, but rather inform them that all Counselors are qualified
to provide them with counseling services.

E. Confidentiality

Under most circumstances, students can be assured that their sessions with a Personal
Counselor will be confidential. A student who poses a threat to self, others, or to
community, or is involved in a case of abuse or neglect of minors or elders, must be
advised that in such instances confidentiality will be breached to protect the people

Counselor-Client relationships are protected by law. A Counselor may not divulge any
information regarding a Client, including the fact that the Client is a Client, to anyone
without the written, informed consent of the Client, with the exceptions listed above.

A. If a student asks for help

If a student discloses personal information, asks for advice or assistance, or inquires if
counseling is available for students, inform them that the University provides Personal
Counseling services. An appointment can be made with a Personal Counselor by
visiting Counseling and Career Services, Room L108 to fill out a Request for Services.

B. If a student displays distress

If a student talks with faculty, administrators or staff and 1) describes difficulties that
are affecting academic or social functioning, or 2) demonstrates distress by crying,
asking to talk in private, etc., it is advisable to ask the student if assistance is wanted.

•   If the student says "Yes" - suggest talking to a Personal Counselor and provide
    information for making an appointment or walk the student to Counseling and Career
    Service in L108.

•   If the student says "No" - no further action is required.

C. Students at risk for academic failure

Personal problems, emotional distress, substance abuse, family/financial problems, and
stress are circumstances to be coped with by the student. The presence of such
conditions should not be used to alter the fundamental academic requirements
placed upon a student. Students who indicate that personal circumstances are
interfering with their performance or who ask for special considerations may be asked if
a referral to Personal Counseling is wanted. Also, you can share that Personal
Counseling can provide assistance with facing and meeting academic responsibilities.

D. Students who believe they have been a victim

Students may follow three paths if they believe they have been victimized on campus.
None of these three paths are mutually exclusive. In talking with you about the
experience, students are availing themselves of the first path, the Informal Support
System on campus. A referral to Personal Counseling will help students continue to
explore their options in handling the situation.

The other two paths available involve filing formal reports with the University Judicial
System and/or with the Chicago Police Department.


The following options may be reviewed with students, or you may make a referral to
Personal Counseling where the options can be discussed with a counselor.

OPTION NO. 1. SUPPORT SYSTEM (Informal Consulting)
Internal to SXU

The students would choose this path if they wanted to seek informal support, or further
explore options in handling the situation. On this path, they may choose to talk with:

•   Personal Counselor in CCS                    •   A Hall Director
•   Campus Minister or Hall Minister             •   Resident Assistants
•   Peer Minister                                •   Health Center Staff
•   Director of Residential Life                 •   Faculty
•   Dean of Students                             •   Coaches
•   CLAWS Safety Net Concern form                •   Public Safety confidential hot line

NOTE: The university representative may be required to notify other officials of the
student’s situation.

(Formal Reporting) Internal to SXU

The student would choose this path if they wanted to pursue University action against
another student, staff or faculty member who victimized them, or if they needed official
University help with the situation. On this path, they may be presented the options of
pressing University charges through the campus judicial system, University Police and/
or reporting to the Chicago Police Department. As part of this process, they may choose
to talk with any of the following people:

     •   Director of Residential Life
     •   Chief of Police
     •   Director of Athletics
     •   Dean of Students
     •   Employee Services

These individuals will provide guidance regarding their options.

(Formal or Confidential)

If the student is the victim of a crime and does not want to pursue action within the
University system or the criminal justice system, they may still want to consider making
a confidential report. With their permission, the chief of police or a management level
designee within the Department of Public Safety, can file a report on the details of the
incident without revealing their identity. The purpose of a confidential report is to
comply with their wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the
future safety of the student and others. With such information, the University can keep
an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there
is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert
the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted
and disclosed in the annual crimes statistics for the institution.

(For Reporting a Crime) External to SXU

The student would choose this path if they wanted to report a crime to the local police.
They may report a crime to the police as well as seek internal University support and/or
judicial sanctions. The Saint Xavier University Department of Public Safety is available
to arrange a neutral meeting place for the initial contact with the police and, if they wish,
a representative of the University can accompany them. Saint Xavier University
encourages students to report all crimes to the police. Once they report a criminal
incident to the police, the University has no control over any investigation and legal
processes that may result.
A.     Making a referral because of problem behavior

1)     Emergency situations

If you become aware that a student is an immediate threat to him/herself or to others,
contact the Department of Public Safety at ext. 3911 immediately.

PLEASE NOTE: If there is an immediate threat of violence, battery, a serious
medical condition, etc., call 911 immediately.

2) Observed behavior

University faculty and staff have many occasions to observe students. If you witness
problem behavior by a student, consult with the Director of Counseling or the Dean of
Students who will impose discipline and/or make a referral for personal counseling if
appropriate. You also may make a report to a member of the Safety Net Committee or a
non-confidential report to the Safety Net Concern function on CLAWS.

B. Making referrals to determine emotional stability or mental fitness

All students are eligible for an initial evaluation with a counselor; however, if the
counselor determines that a student is experiencing psychological or medical problems
that require more intensive therapy or a specialized treatment approach that is not
available through Counseling Services, a referral will be made to an appropriate
treatment facility off-campus.

We all have opportunities to help students who are in pain or who are causing
difficulties on campus. It is important that we work together to build support systems
that are caring and effective. Your participation by making appropriate referrals to
Personal Counseling can help not only individual students in need, but also the entire
campus community.



1. If there is an emergency or imminent danger,

⇒ Call Public Safety for immediate containment and 911 if necessary.

Immediate Emergencies and/or Life Threatening Situations, e.g.:
• Weapons
• Physical violence or battery
• Sexual assault or
• A serious medical problem including possible alcohol or other drug overdose or

   •   Public Safety will provide transport to a hospital unless it is a criminal or
       imminent danger matter; then the University Police or the Chicago Police
       Department (911) will be called.

2. If there is no imminent danger:

   •   The Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety or his designated commissioned
       officer can contain and transport student in need of a psychiatric evaluation.

   •   If transport is provided by Public Safety, the student and a Public Safety officer
       will be accompanied by a Counselor if a counselor has previous knowledge of or
       a relationship with the student.

   •   A Hall Director or Hall Minister will accompany the student if there is no
       counselor involvement required.

3. Emergency Forms Packet/Readmission to Residence Hall:

    • Will be sent with student to the hospital, including releases and a discharge form
    • The student will be responsible for bringing
      completed discharge forms to hall director and/or the Director of Residential

    • Residential Life and/or Public Safety has to be notified of student’s return and
      given completed discharge forms before student can re-enter the residence hall

1. If there is imminent danger (see above criteria) – call Public Safety for immediate
   containment and 911 if necessary.

2. An Emergency Forms Packet will be sent with student to the hospital. The student
   will be responsible for bringing the completed discharge forms to Public Safety upon
   return to campus.

3. If there is no imminent danger during business hours, the Dean of Students or a
   counselor will contact a family/support person to take student to the hospital.

4. If no family/support person is available, Public Safety, accompanied by a staff
   person, will take the student to the hospital.

5. If after business hours, contact 911.

If a student needs transportation for a doctor’s appointment or other necessity approved
by appropriate SXU staff, vouchers can be obtained from the Health Center, Residence
Life or Public Safety to provide transportation from the Garden Cab Company, located
in Oak Lawn. The vouchers will be given to the cab driver upon pick-up, and the costs
may be assumed by the Dean of Students’ Office.


                  NOTE: Do Not Leave Student Alone

           Hall Director                     Public Safety
             on call                             3911

      Director of                  911           Counselor if
     Residence Life            Chicago PD          needed.
                              Oak Lawn PD
                              Evergreen PD

Immediate Emergencies and/or Life
Threatening Situations, e.g.:

•   weapons                                     Legend
•   physical violence or threats
•   battery                                          = judgment call
•   sexual assault
•   a serious medical problem includ-
    ing possible alcohol or other drug
    overdose or poisoning
•   harm to self or others

               CALL 911
                        ♦             ♦


               NOTE: Do Not Leave Student Alone

             Hall Director                     Public Safety
                on call                            3911

          Director of                             Counselor if
        Residential Life                            needed

    Confrontational Behavior, e.g.,

•   suicidal ideation                     When to Refer
                                          1. Noticeable change in
•   intoxication                              behavior
                                          2. Student asks for help
•   disruptive or menacing behavior       3. Student exhibits signs or
                                             symptoms of depression,
      CALL PUBLIC SAFETY                     anxiety, etc.
             @ 3911


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