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Consultations and Referrals

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Helping Distressed or Distressing Students - Some Do's and Don'ts
Referrals

While most students cope adequately with the stress in their lives, some students experience intense emotional distress and require more intensive treatment than we are able to provide. In these cases, the student's Counseling Services therapist will work with them to ensure that they get adequate care.

When might a student benefit from an appointment?

Some signs and symptoms of student distress:

  • Chronic procrastination
  • Poorly prepared work, especially if this is not consistent with previous functioning
  • Infrequent class attendance, especially if this is not consistent with previous attendance record
  • Disruptive classroom or residence hall behavior
  • Significant changes in relationships that feel overwhelming
  • Repeated requests for special considerations
  • Increased dependence on faculty or staff members
  • Personal hygiene changes
  • Lack of energy or falling asleep in class
  • Unexplained, dramatic weight loss or weight gain
  • Marked changes in mood or inappropriate and/or prolonged  display of emotions
  • Hyperactivity, irritability, grandiosity, or heightened anxiety
  • Helplessness/hopelessness/prolonged unhappiness/pessimism about the future
  • Use of mood-altering chemicals
  • Bizarre or strange behavior, including impaired or garbled speech, disjointed thoughts, loss of contact with reality, or a stark lack of emotionality
  • Overt or veiled references to suicide (verbal or written)
  • Homicidal threats (verbal or written)

    If you are concerned about a student:
  • Speak with the student in private, specifically stating your reasons for concern. Mention concrete behaviors and observations rather than speculations about what the student might be thinking or feeling.
  • Listen carefully, avoiding criticism, sounding judgmental, or labeling the student's difficulties. Offer support by expressing interest in the student's experiences and feelings. For guidance about how to approach the conversation, click here.
  • If you feel the student would benefit from coming to Counseling Services, convey this to the student. When you do so, normalize help-seeking by letting them know that seeking help is courageous and that many students come to Counseling Services. Tell them what you know about our services and staff. Make sure to mention that counseling is both free and confidential.

Unsure? Call us for a consult!

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