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 consultations to students with urgent mental health concerns, as well as faculty and staff who have urgent concerns about a student. If you have an immediate need, please call 541-737-2131.  Phone counselors are available after hours. If you or a person of concern are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 off campus or 541-737-7000 on campus.

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


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