In many cases of student distress, faculty and staff provide adequate help through empathic listening, facilitating open discussion of problems, instilling hope, conveying acceptance, and offering basic advice. In some cases, however, students need professional help to overcome problems and to resume effective coping. The following signs indicate that a student may need counseling:
It is best to speak to the student in a direct, concerned, straightforward manner. Because many students initially resist the idea of counseling, be caring but firm in your judgment that counseling would be helpful. Also be clear about the reasons that you are concerned.
Be knowledgeable in advance about the services and procedures of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and other campus help-giving agencies. The best referrals are made to specific people or services.
Remind the student that services are free and confidential.
Suggest that the student call to make an appointment and provide the CAPS phone number (657) 278-3040. Sometimes it is useful to more actively assist students in scheduling an initial counseling appointment. You can offer the use of your phone or call the receptionist yourself while the student waits in your office. In some situations, you may find it wise to walk the student over to CAPS.
If you need help in deciding whether or not it is appropriate to make a referral, call Counseling and Psychological Services at (657) 278-3040 to consult with a counselor.
Faculty and staff members are encouraged to download and review, “Helping Students in Distress: A Faculty and Staff Guide for Assisting Students in Need.” This guide provides strategies on interacting with and providing assistance to students.