If you are concerned about a student who is exhibiting characteristics of emotional distress, remain calm and formulate a plan. Listen to the student and approach with logic (e.g., “It seems as though you need someone who is more experienced than I am to help you out”). You may call CAPS to consult with the on-call staff member who can help you:
- Assess the situation, its seriousness, and the potential for referral;
- Determine resources, both on and off campus, so you can suggest the appropriate help available to the student;
- Discuss the best ways to make the referral, if appropriate;
- Clarify your own feelings about the student and consider the ways you can be most effective.
When to Make A Referral
There are situations when making a referral is the best option for both you and the student. For example:
- You know that you can’t handle the request or the behavior. There are limits to the kinds of help a faculty or staff member can provide.
- You believe that personality differences will interfere with your ability to help.
- You know the student personally and believe that you could not be objective.
- You feel overwhelmed, pressed for time, or stressed.
- The student acknowledges a problem but is reluctant to discuss it with you.
- After working with the student for some time, you realize that you don’t know how to proceed.
- The student’s problems are better handled through services such as CAPS, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, Affirmative Action, or Legal Advising.
How to Make a Referral
Some people accept a referral for professional help more easily than others do. Here are some tips for making a successful referral.
- Let the student know that it is not necessary to know exactly what is wrong in order to seek assistance.
- Assure the student that seeking help does not necessarily mean that their problems are unusual or extremely serious.
- Be frank with students about your own limits of time, energy, training, objectivity, and willingness to help.
- If appropriate, suggest that the student consider talking with family members, friends, clergy, community agencies, and campus offices.
CAPS provides emergency consultations to students with urgent mental health concerns. Please call 541-737-2131 if you have an immediate need to meet with a counselor. After 5:00 p.m. and on weekends, please contact the Crisis Line at 1-888-232-7192, or call 911 for emergency services at your local hospital.
Other resources may also be helpful referrals and can also consult with you if you are concerned about a student:
Student Health Services 541-737-9355
Career Services 541-737-4085
Dean of Student Life 541-737-2382
Academic Success Center 541-737-2272
Crisis Line 24/7 1-888-232-7192
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