Referring Troubled or Suicidal Students

Even though a student asks you for help with a problem and you are willing to help, there are circumstances when you should suggest other resources:

  • You are not comfortable in handling the situation.
  • The help necessary is not your expertise.
  • Personality differences may interfere with your ability to help.
  • You know the student personally (friend, neighbor, friend of a friend) and think you may not be objective enough to help.
  • The student is reluctant to discuss the situation with you.
  • You feel overwhelmed or pressed for time.

 How to Make a Referral

  • Be frank with the student about the limits of your time, ability, expertise, and/or objectivity.
  • Let the student know that you see their strengths and motivation, and that getting assistance from a professional resource will help them get closer to their goals.
  • Assure them that many students seek help over the course of their college career.
  • Assist the student in choosing the best resource.
  • Try to help the student know what to expect if they follow through on the referral.
  • Consider whether you or the student or both should make the initial contact.

What to say

  • "We all need some kind of help at some time, even if it's only talking to someone who can listen without criticism.”
  • "Counseling has been helpful to many others like yourself. You can try it and see if it helps."
  • "If you don't feel comfortable talking to me about these matters, perhaps you would find it easier to talk to a counselor, privately and confidentially."
  • “We can call Counseling Service together or I can walk over with you if you'd like”.

Consultation is Available

If you have concerns about a student, please contact Counseling Services for consultation.

Some of the ways Counseling Services might help:

  • Assess the seriousness of the situation;
  • Suggest potential resources;
  • Find the best way to make a referral;
  • Clarifying your own feelings about the student and the situation.

Center for Counseling and Psychological Health

Middlesex Building

Open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

All students have to do is walk-in and ask to be seen.  We always have someone on duty to meet as soon as possible with students who come in.  The counselor will talk with the student and make plans for further appointments as needed.  If you accompany a student to our office, please let the receptionist know and we will assist you immediately.