A Guide for Faculty and Staff

Everyone plays an important role in supporting student mental health & well-being.

Faculty and staff can use this guide to know what to look for and what to do to assist students who are potentially in distress at Glendon Campus.

If you have immediate safety concerns for yourself or others:

Call 911 & Campus Security

First, call Emergency Services: 911
Then, call Campus Security: 416-736-5333

For additional resources at York University, please click here.

How Best to Proceed

Assisting students in distress involves 3 basic steps: Observe, Reflect & Respond

Use the table below to guide your observations, reflections and responses.


Pay attention to warning signs

Step 2: REFLECT 

Trust your instincts


Reach out and help

Learn to notice the signs that a student may be in distress by using the column below. Mental health concerns can have a significant impact on everyday life, including academics. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve seen and heard. Think of answers to the following questions:

  • What did I see?
  • What did I hear?
  • How many similar incidents involving the student have I witnessed?

The following list is only meant to provide examples and is not meant to be exhaustive.

Think about what you have seen and heard, and then use the categories and statements below to help determine next steps. ————————————————-

It’s OK to feel unsure about how to respond, and you don’t need to have all the answers. Choosing any response over remaining silent is always the best option.

If it is safe to do so and if you’re worried or if they leave you feeling concerned, talk to the student. Connect the student with resources and identify your concerns using the table below. A student may not know help is available or may hesitate to ask for it. You may use the Talking to a Student in Distressmodel below to help guide your conversation with the student.

If you cannot or do not feel comfortable approaching the student, it’s still important share your concerns about a student with the appropriate service below in order to provide the student with support.

Behaviour that is uncontrollable, violent, destructive, harmful, aggressive or highly threatening to self or others (including suicidal statements or attempts)


“I am concerned about the student’s immediate safety and there may also be imminent and life threatening risks to others.”


Then, call YORK SECURITY: 416-736-5333

Inform your supervisor and/or the Principal’s Office.

Self-harming behaviours such as cutting, hitting or restricted eating

Expression of intense emotions (anxiety, rage, hopelessness, loneliness…) and references to suicide, but without imminent risk to harm self or others

Behaviour that is incoherent or uncontrollable, but not immediately dangerous to self or others

Mental health, appearance or hygiene that appears to be significantly deteriorating

Sudden changes from regular behaviour patterns (sociability, talkativeness, eating, sleeping, partying, emotionality, capacity for work, substance abuse)

Struggling after traumatic events such as loss of a loved one, end of a relationship, physical health problems

Homesick, withdrawal, feeling isolated or helpless, longing to be back home, unduly hostile towards the local and academic culture


“I am concerned about the student’s general wellbeing, they urgently require assistance, but the risk of imminent and life threatening harm to self or others is likely low.”

Encourage or accompany the student to book a Personal Counselling appointment with ACCESSIBILITY, WELL-BEING AND COUNSELLING CENTRE:

GH 111A



And/or, consult the Manager of the ACCESSIBILITY, WELL-BEING AND COUNSELLING CENTRE: Deane Taylor (x 88138)

And/or consult the Director of STUDENT AFFAIRS: Julie Goulet (x88550)


Call YORK SECURITY: 416-736-5333

And/or, encourage the student to call GOOD 2 TALK (free, confidential helpline for post-secondary students in Ontario): 1-866-925-5454

Inform your supervisor or unit lead

Struggling with finances to the point of distress


“I am concerned about the student’s general wellbeing due to their financial situation, but there appears to be no risk of harm to self or others.”

Encourage the student to contact or visit STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES.

YH C138



And/or consult the Manager of STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES: Andréanne Dibo-Amany (x88144)

Struggling with academic demands to the point of distress


“I am concerned about the student’s general wellbeing due to their academic situation, but there appears to be no risk of harm to self or others.”

Encourage the student to contact or visit ACADEMIC SERVICES/ADVISING.

YH C102



And/or consult the Manager of ACADEMIC SERVICES/ADVISING: Gilles Thibodeau (x88133)

Observed or reported to need support with:

Career exploration, academic tasks, and skills development

Gender, sexual orientation, or spiritual identity exploration

Social and peer supports

Well-being and stress management


Academic advising

Personal development

Student conduct and conflict resolution


“Even if a student is experiencing neither of the above extreme forms of distress, I am concerned and think that they might benefit from the various support services available on York’s campuses.”

Any of the services listed above, as appropriate

Career and Skills Development Centre (YH A108)

Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (at the Keele Campus)

Frost Library (416-487-6726)

Glendon Athletic Club (416-487-6717, gac@glendon.yorku.ca)

Glendon Women and Trans Centre (Hilliard D124, glendonwtc@gmail.com)

Glgbt* (Historic Gate Cottage, coordinator.glgbt@gmail.com)

Glendon College Student Union (YH B126, council.gcsu.aecg@gmail.com)

Interfaith Centre (Hilliard D123)

GL ZONE (YH A, Centre of Excellence Counter, glzone@glendon.yorku.ca)

Mental Health and Wellness at York 

Salon Francophone (YH B111)

Spark : Student Papers & Academic Research Kit

International Students and Students Who Live in Residence

In addition to the steps above, inform STUDENT AFFAIRS about your concern if it is regarding an international student: contact Julie Goulet (x88550) & inform the Coordinator of GLENDON RESIDENCE LIFE about your concern if it is regarding a student living on-campus: Katherine Fowley (x88238).

Encouraging a Student to Seek Support

  • Point out that help is available and seeking help is a sign of strength
  • Acknowledge that seeking help can feel difficult at first

If a Student Doesn’t Want Help


  • Respect the student’s right to refuse counselling or other help.
  • Do not take it personally; if appropriate, and if you feel comfortable, offer the student the possibility of staying in touch by providing your work contact information (but do not insist if they decline).
  • Provide the student with takeaway information on possible resources.

Unusual or Particularly Complex Situations Involving Students in Distress

For questions about concerns or student conduct not addressed on this page, contact:

Glendon Campus

Student Affairs, Division of Students



Keele Campus

Office of Student Community Relations



Sexual Violence Concerns

Find response and support resources at:



Talking to a Student in Distress

What to Say

1. Acknowledge

  • Respect and be aware of the student’s human rights and student responsibilities
  • Speak to the student in private (unless it feels unsafe to do so)
  • Be specific about the behavior that you’ve noticed
  • Express your concern
  • Stay calm and listen carefully

“I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned about you.”

2. Inquire and listen

  • Try to understand the student’s perspective without judgment.
  • Take the student’s concern seriously. Don’t dismiss or minimize.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Be patient and give your full attention

“How is everything going? Are you okay?”

3. Provide information and encouragement

·         Provide the student with information about resources and offer to make appropriate referrals.

·         Offer support, but be cautious about giving advice.

·         Do not promise to keep information private or confidential

“I’m concerned about you and I want to support you. I’d like to share a few resources with you that might help.”

4. Follow up

·         If feasible, follow up with the student but don’t insist on knowing what the student has done

“How are things since our talk last week?”

“How have you been since our talk last week?”

“How have you been since we last connected?”

5. Know Your Limits

·         Don’t feel it’s your responsibility to solve the student’s problem

·         Understand your limitations and get other people involved.

·         Use resources for staff and faculty like the Employee Assistant Program to help take care of your wellbeing

Questions, Comments, or Referring a Student in Distress

Glendon Campus Contact:

Gauhar Shariff, Critical Incident Case Manager

Phone: 647-654-6633


Referral Form: Student In Distress