Level 1 and Level 2 Help

If a student exhibits Level 1 or Level 2 behaviors, you may choose to approach the student or the student may seek your help. If you have any concerns about the immediate safety of the student, yourself and/or others, please call 911 for police support. If you do not have these immediate concerns, follow these suggestions:

  • Show respect and sensitivity by talking to the student when both of you have sufficient time and are in a private place. If possible, suggest talking in your office or in an empty classroom.
  • Be matter-of-fact and communicate directly. Control your emotions and stay calm since this may help the student do the same.
  • Make eye contact and give the student your attention.
  • Express concern for the student in clear, behavioral, non-judgmental terms (e.g., “I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and this isn't like you. I wanted to ask how you're doing and if everything is ok?” rather than “Why haven’t you been in class?” or “Where have you been lately?”).
  • Listen to the student’s description of the problems which are interfering with his/her academic work in a respectful, non-threatening way. Let the student talk and ask follow-up questions as needed to clarify details and/or express any specific concerns you have.
  • Convey support and understanding by summarizing what you hear the student saying (e.g., “It sounds as if the experience of moving away from home was a big change and now you’re feeling lonely and isolated.”).

When in Doubt, Consult

If you have specific questions or concerns about a student, or are unsure about how to approach a situation, call Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) at 815-753-1206. Indicate that you are concerned about a student, and ask to speak to an available counselor. The CCS staff member can help you:

  • Assess the specific situation and identify next steps
  • Review resources, both on- and off-campus, so that you can provide the student with potential options for getting assistance for her/his specific concerns
  • Decide how best to initiate the referral process
  • Clarify your own feelings regarding the student and discuss ways you can be most effective in offering assistance and/or addressing your concerns. 

How to Make a Referral

If you believe that referring a student to CCS would be helpful or necessary, you can proceed in any of the following ways:

  • Suggest that the student call CCS or attend an initial consultation appointment so that they can be seen by a counselor to get support for their concerns (Level 1 concerns). You can also provide the student information about our website, where they can learn more about our center and the services we offer. 
  • Suggest that the student call CCS and speak with a counselor while still in your office. When the call is made from your office, you can start by speaking with a CCS counselor and explaining the situation, then handing the phone to the student to provide details. Taking this step allows you to know that initial contact with CCS has been made. This also allows the student to exercise personal responsibility, which may make the student more likely to follow through to get help.
  • If you do not have immediate safety concerns about the student or others, but feel this is a more significant situation, you can offer to accompany the student to CCS, Campus Life Building, room 200. This is one way to ensure the student receives immediate support and assistance. If possible, it can be helpful if you call CCS first to let us know that you are walking a student over so we can be prepared for your arrival.

After Office Hours and on the Weekends

After office hours and on the weekends, an on-call counselor is available to provide support to NIU students experiencing mental health emergencies or crisis situations. Faculty, staff, family or friends can also call to discuss mental health emergencies regarding NIU students. Please call 815-753-1206 and you will be forwarded to speak with an on-call counselor.

What Happens When a Student Goes to CCS?

Students should be encouraged to attend an initial consultation appointment at CCS. Our office is located in the Campus Life Building, room 200. Students can also call the office at 815-753-1206 for more information about an initial consultation appointment and/or the services we offer. Students are seen as soon as possible, although during periods of high demand they may need to wait to see an available counselor. In emergency situations, however, a student will be seen immediately.

Students need to know that using CCS services is confidential. We cannot discuss a student, his/her specific situation or even the fact that counseling is being received at CCS without the student’s permission. The only exceptions to this are when we have concerns that a student may be at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, or when we have information about suspected child or elder abuse. Even in these circumstances, communication is limited to those who can provide immediate assistance.

How to Follow Up After a Referral

Once a referral to CCS has been initiated, it is recommended that you follow up with the student. Depending on the nature of your relationship with the student, you may also find yourself wondering, “How is it going?” If this is done in a non-intrusive way, such a question may be well-received and appreciated. However, the student’s right to privacy and confidentiality should always be respected.

If you wish to give us additional information about a student you referred, you may call our office to do so. We can always receive information and consult with people who are concerned about a student. Please remember that the counselor-client relationship is confidential (see above), so we will not be able to release information without permission from the student unless we determine that the student or someone else is at immediate risk of harm.

Contact Us

Counseling and Consultation Services
Campus Life Building, room 200
815-753-1206
Monday-Friday
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Initial Consultation Hours

To speak to a counselor
Monday-Friday
11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Worried about yourself or someone else?

Crisis Resources