Division of Student Engagement

What is EARS?

What is Distressed Student Protocol?


The Early Alert Reporting System (EARS) is a tool for early identification and support of students who are struggling or may need additional care or resources. Faculty, staff, and students can contribute to campus wellness by identifying and assisting students who are having academic and/or other difficulties.

EARS allows faculty and staff to listen for student challenges and refer a student who may be experiencing academic or personal concerns. Student concerns may include poor class attendance, family issues, financial difficulties, mental or physical wellness concerns, or difficulty with the transition to North Park.

Students can use EARS to ask for help for themselves or refer a friend who needs extra support.

Once a referral is submitted, professional staff in Student Engagement will reach out to the student to listen to concerns, provide support, and share connections to helpful resources. Simply log into EARS using your university credentials and complete the referral form. You will be notified regarding receipt of your referral. Referrals are confidential and information is handled in a sensitive manner.

Referrals are processed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. If you need immediate help, please contact Student Engagement at (773) 244-5737 or Campus Safety at (773) 244-5600. If there is an emergency, please call 911 and Campus Safety at (773) 244-5600.

Please refer to the Distressed Student Protocol below if you are not sure whether to submit an EARS referral or if you need to seek more immediate help.

Contact Student Engagement for additional training or more information about EARS.


How to Submit an EARS Referral – Instructions for Faculty and Staff


How to Submit an EARS Referral – Instructions for Students

Distressed Student Protocol

As a North Park community member, you are in a position to recognize changes that characterize a distressed student. Encouraging and helping a student seek assistance with the appropriate campus resources is essential.

Use the Distressed Student Protocol if you notice any of the following (or other) signs:

Signs of Distress

  • Decline in academic performance
  • Several absences from class or meetings
  • Changes in mood, appetite, or sleep
  • Withdrawal from friends or daily activities
  • Change in hygiene or appearance
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Hyperactivity or rapid speech
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response to events

Signs of Crisis

  • Suicidal, homicidal thoughts, plans, or intentions
  • Loss of contact with reality or irrational thinking
  • Bizarre, odd thoughts or disorganized speech
  • Highly disruptive behavior
  • Fighting or assaultive behavior
  • Severe effects of alcohol or drug use
  • Medical emergency (e.g., fainting, chest pain, difficulty breathing, etc.)

Sign up for Mental Health First Aid training if you are interested in learning more about how to recognize the signs and symptoms that suggest a potential mental health challenge.

If you have concerns or questions, call the Center for Student Engagement at (773) 244-5737.

View Distressed Student Protocol