From time to time, faculty and staff may encounter students who may be in crisis or are having difficulty coping.
When students present problems beyond your abilities to help them, it is important to make a timely referral to Student Counseling Services.
A word of caution may be helpful to avoid any misunderstanding between faculty/staff and student. Faculty/staff should be especially cognizant of boundaries that define your role in the student-faculty relationship and not cross those boundaries.
A student experiencing crisis or difficulty coping may misinterpret a well-intentioned act of kindness by a faculty/staff member or become overly reliant on that member who may not be able to continue providing a certain level of support.
Your help can become more harmful than helpful. Please feel free to call Student Counseling regarding any questions regarding referring the appropriate service for the student or appropriate boundaries with the student.
Symptoms/problems that may require a referral:
- Sudden withdrawal from interactions with faculty, administrators, staff, or peers
- Chronic absences from class
- Lack of concentration
- Dramatic drop in academic performance and/or grade point average
- Problems selecting a major or making a career decision
- Substance abuse (e.g. smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes)
- Loss of appetite or excessive eating
- Lack of energy
- Inappropriate or exaggerated behaviors, such as, aggressiveness, emotional outbursts, or crying
- Thought disorder (e.g. delusions, hallucinations, severe confusion)*
- Insomnia or excessive sleep*
- Talk of hopelessness and despair*
- Major life trauma ( e.g. death, divorce, abuse, severe illness)*
- Expression of suicidal thoughts and feelings*
PLEASE NOTE: These behaviors may indicate severe stress and the need for immediate counseling services and/or outside referrals. Please call Student Counseling Services for assistance at 330.941.3737
Suggestions for Making Referrals:
Show Concern. Show and voice your concern (e.g., “You seem so sad; I'm really concerned about you.” Continue to show concern by saying, “I’d like to help, but I just don’t think I am qualified. However, there are people on campus who can help").
Reassure: Let the student know that services provided by Student Counseling Services are confidential, as required by Ohio law.
Neither counseling contacts nor information shared in counseling sessions will appear on the student's record or be disclosed
to family members, or anyone else without the client's written consent. All information obtained during counseling is kept
confidential, with exceptions provided by Ohio Code.
Make an appointment: You may assist the student by allowing them to use your office telephone to make an appointment at the Counseling Services. This may tend to give an already anxious student a greater sense of security and may also motivate the student to keep his/her appointment.
Follow-up: Please note that we cannot acknowledge a student’s counseling status or his/her appointment without the student’s written permission. However, you may ask the student: “Are things going better for you now?” “Have you had a chance to talk to anyone yet?” If the student has sought help, encourage him/her to keep trying to work things out. If the student has not sought help, encourage him/her to do so. Make sure the student understands that you can’t help with his/her particular problem, but that there are professionals on campus who can. If you do refer a student to the Counseling Services, encourage the student to let you know whether he or she has kept the appointment.
NOTE: Don't expect immediate results. Changing ways of thinking, feelings, behaviors, and learning new skills takes time. Patience and under standing are part of the helping process.