1. Identifying and responding to students in distress
  2. Communication and documentation
  3. Service policy for non-registered “students”

Many people at Carleton come into contact with students in distress. The protocols listed in the Framework support our community in its effort to provide students with a safe and supportive environment in which to learn. These policies and protocols comprise a set of guidelines to help ensure that students in distress receive prompt, responsive and appropriate help and that those who support them can do so with confidence. The following policies and protocols are outlined in the Framework.

Identifying and responding to students in distress

To help ensure we are properly referring our students to on- and off-campus resources, the committee has identified a general protocol to help faculty and staff identify and assist students in distress.

The Supporting Students in Distress (pdf) will help you identify a student in distress, if his/her situation is urgent and how to respond.

For more details on how to recognize signs of distress and how to talk to a student a student in distress, see the Identifying and responding to students in distress section on page 17 of the Student Mental Health Framework.

Communication and documentation

When dealing with issues of privacy and students in distress we must comply with two provincial legislative regimes – the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, more commonly referred to as FIPPA, and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, otherwise known as PHIPA. Carleton University is committed to protecting the privacy of those who study or work here (present and past). None the less, our commitment to safeguarding the privacy of Carleton students does not prevent us from acting to protect students in an emergency. The Framework identifies:

a. Guidelines from the Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner as to when it is appropriate to disclose a student’s personal information to a third party without consent.

b. Factors to bear in mind when taking the decision to disclose personal information or personal health information.

c. Determining who will decide to disclose: a senior Carleton University official such as Director of University Safety, Director of Housing and Conference Services, Assistant Director of Residence Life, Director of Health and Counselling Services, Associate Vice-President (Student Support Services) or their designates.

d. Procedures for creating and maintaining confidential files including creating records, security of records and retention of records.

For quick reference, print out a copy of the documentation and communication summary.

For more details, see the Communications and documentation section on page 26 of the Student Mental Health Framework.

Service policy for non-registered “students”

This guideline applies to individuals who are between sessions, recently graduated or have withdrawn from Carleton University and who have had previous contact with a service, are seeking service for the first time or who are referred by someone to on-campus services. While the university is not obliged to provide mental health services in these cases, staff and faculty who encounter these students are encouraged to follow the general protocol for identifying and responding to students in distress (see above).

Non-registered “students” should be directed to a relevant student support service that can assist them in locating and accessing off-campus services. As an interim measure for non-registered “students” who are in immediate but not urgent need, on-campus services can be offered at the discretion of the service provider until suitable off-campus services are found.

It should be noted that in all cases of emergency i.e. probability of actual harm to self or others, you must follow the protocol for dealing with urgent situations regardless of the person’s status on campus.

For more details about the service policy for non-registered students, see the Service policy section on page 16 of the Student Mental Health Framework.