The college years mark an important period of personal and psychological growth that may be stressful at various times. On occasion, students may experience difficulty coping with this stress. As a faculty member, administrator, or staff member, you may be one of the first to become aware of personal difficulties affecting a student’s life at Cottey College. The following is an outline designed to assist in referring students to available services at the Counseling Center.
WHEN TO REFER
Consider referring a student to the Counseling Center if you notice:
• You’re doing more “personal counseling” than “academic advising” with a student.
• A student seems to be “perpetually” tired, anxious, depressed, irritable, angry, or sad.
• Marked changes in a student’s appearance or habits (for example, deterioration in grooming, hygiene, dramatic weight change, marked withdrawal in a normally outgoing person, accelerated activity or speech in a normally reserved person, or marked change in academic performance).
• Indications of hopelessness or helplessness.
• A student’s use of alcohol or other substances interferes with his/her relationships or work.
• A student’s thoughts or actions appear unusual to others.
• A student makes suicidal comments.
HOW TO REFER
If you notice any of these or other warning signs, here’s how to make a referral. Inform the student in a straightforward manner of your concern. Be specific regarding the behavior patterns you have observed and complete the form with the student. Please forward the referral form to the Counseling Office. If the student agrees to the referral, you may:
• Facilitate the referral by having the student call us from your office or room to
arrange an appointment.
• Agree that the student will contact the Counseling Center on their own to
arrange an appointment.
• In urgent or crisis situations, walk the student over for immediate contact
with our staff.
Except in emergencies, the option should be left open for the student to accept or refuse a referral for counseling.
If you are unsure about whether to refer, call us. Our staff members will consult with you about your concerns, and possible options for responding.
An emergency can occur anytime. In some instances of severe emotional disturbance, immediate response is necessary for the well-being of the student or others. The Counseling Center provides 24-hour emergency crisis assessment and intervention throughout the academic year.
WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY?
• A suicidal gesture (i.e. driving recklessly, cutting self), stated intention, or attempt.
• Behavior posing a threat to the individual.
• Behavior or stated intentions posing a threat to others.
• Demonstrated inability to care for oneself.
Any reference to a personal consideration of suicide, threat of suicide, or attempt at suicide should be judged as extremely serious, and referral to the Counseling Center is strongly advised. If the reference includes the how, when, where, or other specifics of suicide plans, immediate response is critical.
WHOM TO CALL IN AN EMERGENCY:
The primary campus resource for responding to mental health emergencies is the Counseling Center (x2157). A student who comes to the Counseling Center in crisis will be seen by a professional staff member immediately. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including:
• Name of the student, yourself, and your location.
• Description of the situation and the assistance needed.
• Exact location of the person.
As required by both laws and ethics of professional practice, all communication between a therapist and client is confidential. Once a student is a client at the Counseling Center, we cannot discuss the particulars of his/her situation, or even acknowledge the fact that counseling is being provided without the consent of the client. If it seems necessary, we will generally attempt to obtain client permission to communicate with a faculty member, friend, or family member. If you do not hear from us, it is likely that permission has not been granted. Students are also encouraged to communicate with you in a manner that is comfortable for them. Even though we are bound legally and ethically by the rules of confidentiality, we can always listen to your observations and concerns. In any event do not hesitate to contact the Counseling Center for a consultation.