Helping Students in Distress

Scope:  Who is covered by this Policy?

Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students


Institutional Response Team (IRT)

The Dean of Students chairs the Miami Institutional Response Team (IRT) which responds when there is a concern that a student may pose a risk of substantial harm to the student, others, or to property. The IRT consists of representatives of various campus offices, any one of whom may receive information about a student potentially in distress. The IRT then works collaboratively to collect information about a student and/or situation to determine an appropriate course of action.

While there is a great variety in the ways in which students show distress, the following are common signs:

  1. A student communicates an intention to harm themselves or others through any medium;
  2. Marked and sudden drop in academic performance or class attendance;
  3. Disruptive or atypical behavior including social withdrawal or isolation;
  4. Sudden and marked drop, elevation, or fluctuation in energy level or mood;
  5. Marked changes in physical appearance or hygiene;
  6. Signs of substance abuse;
  7. Presence of marked dysfunction in major life areas including academics, sleeping, eating, health, relationships, etc.

The staff of the Student Counseling Service (513) 529-4634 is available to provide consultation to any member of the Miami community as to how to evaluate and proceed in such situations. Students, faculty or staff who think a student is experiencing significant distress should pass this information on to the office of the Dean of Students (513) 529-1877 or go to the Student Concern Management System website. In an emergency, contact the Miami University Police at 911.

Related Form(s)

Not Applicable.

Additional Resources and Procedures


Student Concern Management System


Not Applicable.

Policy Administration

Next Review Date


Responsible Officer

  • Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
  • General Counsel

Legal Authority

Not Applicable.

Compliance Policy


Revision History

Edited July 2018; Amended July 2023

Reference ID

  • Student Handbook 4.8
  • Graduate Student Handbook 2.10

Reviewing Bodies

  • Student Life Council
  • Administrative