Faculty Resources in Counseling Services

Supporting Students During COVID-19 and Other Disruptions (Virtual Presentation)

Counseling Referral Information

Working closely with students, you may encounter distressed students needing additional assistance coping with the pressures and challenges they are facing. You may play a crucial role in identifying and referring these distressed students for professional help. Following are some frequently asked questions about students and emotional distress.

What are some of the signs indicating a possible counseling referral? The following may indicate the need for a referral to counseling services:

  • Suicidal thoughts (e.g., referring to suicide as a current option or indirect reference to suicide or death)
  • Wanting to hurt others
  • Bizarre/inappropriate behavior and/or garbled disjointed thoughts
  • Highly disruptive behavior (e.g., aggression toward other people, violent outbursts, disruptions of class or work)
  • Abrupt changes in behavior or appearance
  • Uncertainty & anxiety about emotional stability, family situation and/or relationship problems
  • Normal emotions displayed for a prolonged period at an extreme degree
  • Increased irritability
  • Known or suspected alcohol/drug abuse
  • Dependency (e.g., wants others to take care of him/her)
  • Infrequent class attendance
  • Never leaving the residence hall
  • Issues with anger
  • Fatigue, lack of energy

How do I make a referral to Counseling Services?

  • Talk to the student in private
  • Listen to thoughts & feelings, allowing the student to talk
  • Avoid criticizing, judging, and/or giving advice
  • Explore options instead of trying to "fix it" for the student
  • Emphasize that seeking help is a sign of health and maturity, not weakness
  • Contact Counseling Services for consultation if the student resists help & you are concerned about what to do
  • Encourage the student to contact Counseling Services to make an appointment

What does Counseling Services have to offer? During an initial interview, a counselor will assess the student's needs and determine what services will be appropriate. The following options are explored:

  • Further assessment
  • Individual, group, and/or couples counseling (short-term)
  • Referral to other departments or services on campus or in the community

If I refer a student to counseling, should I follow-up by calling Counseling Services? We understand that you will be concerned about the student you have referred, but we are bound by the principles of confidentiality as defined by the Code of Ethics & Standards of the American Counseling Association. At the student's written request, the counselor may confirm that the student attended the appointment.

What can't Counseling Services tell me? Students may decide it is in their best interest to have Counseling Services share information with faculty, staff, family, or significant others. This can be done after the student signs written consent, being sure she/he understands the purpose and content of any disclosure. The exception is a situation in which it is determined that imminent danger exists to the student or to others. In this case, we will inform the appropriate individuals.

What can Counseling Services tell me? We will answer questions concerning steps to take in assisting students in coming to counseling. We will also offer information about psychological concerns or problems in general.

What do I do in emergency situations? If the situation is an emergency and you feel that the student is going to hurt him/herself or someone else you need to do the following: Call 911 and let them know there is an individual who is going to hurt him/herself or someone else. OR if the student is not in imminent danger of physically harming himself or others then you should call Counseling Services (968-0329) and ask for assistance or walk the student to the health and wellness center, Doc Bryan 119.  You may also submit a CARE team referral at www.atu.edu/careteam and someone from the team will reach out to the student.  If the Counseling Services office is closed and you have an emergency, call 911 or contact ATU Public Safety (968-0222). They will make sure the student is safe and contact others as needed.