Faculty and Staff Concerned about a Student
The Role of the Faculty, Staff, and Advisors
As a faculty, staff member, or advisor, you may be the first person to recognize students who would benefit from referral to Counseling Services at the Health and Counseling Center (HCC). In order to establish rapport with students and understand their concerns:
- Talk with the student in private.
- Listen carefully. Repeat back to the student the essence of what he/she told you.
- Express concern. Be specific about your observations and reasons for concern.
- Respect the student’s values and beliefs. Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
Making a Referral for a Student of Concern
To make an appointment:
- The student can either call or stop by our office.
- Faculty and staff can also initiate the call and then allow the student to schedule the appointment.
If you call the HCC on behalf of a student:
- Identify yourself and explain you are assisting a student in making an appointment.
- Provide information as to the perceived level of urgency (immediate need, tomorrow, next week) and a brief description of the behavior that concerns you
- Allow the student to speak directly to the HCC staff member to arrange an appointment.
If the student refuses counseling:
- Express your acceptance of his or her hesitation so that your own relationship with the student is not jeopardized.
- Give him or her an opportunity to consider alternatives by suggesting the student might need some time to think it over.
- If the student emphatically says “no,” respect that decision
Consult with counseling staff:
- If the student is reluctant to accept a referral, or you are not comfortable suggesting it
- To share your observations and concerns about a student
- To determine the most appropriate course of action for you and/or the student
- Client confidentiality prohibits HCC staff from providing you with information about a student
If you need additional assistance:
- Consult with Student Outreach & Support within the Student Life division. This organization:
- Connects students in need of resources to appropriate campus or community services
- Communicates with appropriate campus resources on student issues, including hospitalizations, and crisis situations
- You can complete an incident report about a student of concern through Student Life's Student Outreach and Support.
Signs Suggesting the Need for a Referral
- Academic Problems
- Test anxiety and/or poor test taking strategies
- Consistent discrepancy between potential and actual achievement
- Poor time management and insufficient study habits
- Repeated absences from class with little or no work completed
- Excessive procrastination and uncharacteristically poor work
- Repeated requests for special consideration
- Morbid and depressing themes on written assignments
- Advisement Problems
- Inability to choose courses or a major
- Career indecision or unrealistic career expectations
- Dissatisfaction with academic major
- Shifts in discussion from advisement on coursework to personal issues
- Behavioral Markers
- A stated need for help
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Impaired speech or garbled and disjointed
- High levels of irritability, including unruly, aggressive, violent and/or abrasive behavior
- Dramatic weight gain or loss
- Normal emotions that are displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period of time, e.g., tearfulness or nervousness
- Frequent falling asleep in class
- Stress-related somatic complaints
- Excessive drinking, drug abuse or drug dependence
- Physical complaints
- Behavior that regularly interferes with decorum of classroom
- Interpersonal Problems
- Dependency on advisor / “Hanging around”
- Sudden distancing from faculty or other Traumatic changes in personal relationships due to loss or death
- Relationship (family, friendship, roommate) problems
- Identity and acculturation issues
- Emergency Situations When You Should Get Help Immediately
- Expression of suicidal thoughts
- Expression of homicidal thoughts
- Severe loss of emotional control
- Gross impairment of thinking ability
- Loss of connection with reality
- Bizarre behavior