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Referring Distressed Students

Student Referral-Release Form

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Excessive procrastination and poorly prepared work, especially if inconsistent with previous work; grades consistently decline
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no work completed; excessive tardiness
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequently falling asleep in class/office
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene or dress
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions, days off)
  • Avoiding participation or dominating discussions
  • Disruptive behavior that regularly interferes with effective class management
  • Unexplained crying; swollen or red eyes
  • Noticeable weight gain or loss
  • Expressed suicidal thoughts or covert expressions of suicidal thoughts**
  • Threats to others (verbally or written)**
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive or aggressive behavior
  • Student has cuts on body or mentions cutting
  • Regularly discusses (or writes about) personal problems
  • Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate for the situation

** NOTE: These referrals are not optional

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THINGS TO KNOW

Your interest in a student’s well-being can make an important difference to a person in distress. Presenting yourself as knowledgeable about campus services can ease a student’s discomfort about seeking help.

Try to talk to the student in private.

If the student resists referral and continues sharing personal information or acting out, contact the Career and Counseling Center staff to discuss your concern or referral options.

  • Remember that though it is important to care about the emotional well being of our students, we cannot make their decisions for them.
  • It is crucial that you be clear about the need to discontinue any disruptive behavior or the ongoing sharing of personal problems.
  • Remind them that successful people seek support when needed. Problems do not need to reach crisis proportions for students to benefit from professional help.
  • Reluctant students (or employees) need to know they can speak with a therapist on a one-time basis without making a commitment to ongoing therapy.
  • Make sure they know any contact or information shared with the counseling staff is confidential except with the student’s written permission (or in the case of minors).
  • Do not try to counsel a student over an extended period of time. Do not try to counsel a student with a serious problem. Your responsibility is to show caring for the person: "The best way I can help you is to refer you to someone else who is professionally trained."
  • Don't wait until it is too late to refer. You are not a failure if you can't help someone.
Take all suicidal (or homicidal) expressions seriously. A student whose behavior has become threatening, violent, significantly disruptive or despondent may need a different kind of approach.

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HOW TO MAKE A REFERRAL

Emergencies:

  • If the student is in imminent danger of hurting self or others and it is during regular business hours, call 678.915.7391 and ask to speak to one of the counselors.
  • If the student is in imminent danger of hurting self or others and it is after regular business hours, call the University Police at 678.915.5555. They will contact the counseling staff member on call.
  1. Identify yourself.
  2. Provide the counselor with a description of the situation leading to your concern.
  3. The counselor will advise you of appropriate actions to take to most effectively help the student.

Non-Emergency Referrals:

  • Encourage the student to contact the Career and Counseling Center to schedule an appointment.
  • Offer to let the student call from your office (provides extra support and encouragement).
  • Call the CCC with the student present and let the student talk or ask a counselor to come to your office if possible.
  • Walk the student over to the Career and Counseling Center.

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WHAT HAPPENS IN COUNSELING?
  • The student will meet with a professional staff member (this may be a counseling intern).
  • At the first visit, the student completes intake forms, which generally takes about 20-25 minutes. These forms help give the counselor a complete picture of the student and their needs.
  • Students are asked to sign a release form to let the person referring them know they have kept their appointment, and possibly if the sessions will be ongoing. However, the student may decide not to do so. This would prevent us from even sharing that the student saw us.
  • If the student is a threat to themselves or to others, the counseling staff are obligated by law to take action.
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CONFIDENTIALITY GUIDELINES
  • It is normal to want to find out what happened and how you can continue to help the student. However, the counseling staff are bound by confidentiality as defined by the Law and our Ethics Code.
  • This means we cannot give information about the student without written permission from the student (see Student Referral / Release Form). Nor can we say whether the student has come for an appointment or discuss specifics of the situation.

We CAN answer your general questions about making referrals to the Center.

We CAN offer you information about psychological concerns and problems in general. We CAN take information from you regarding specific behaviors of the student.

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Career and Counseling Center

Student Center, Room 170

678-915-7391