Referring a Student

Referring a student for counseling can sometimes be or feel complex. You may be concerned about a student’s physical or mental health, worried about how a student is functioning, or noticed changes in classroom or social behavior. You might not be sure of how to approach a student or if you did, how to talk to him/her about getting help. The following suggestions may assist you in the referral process. 

  • Approach the student you are concerned about in a gentle, caring, and non-judgmental way. Tell the student that you want to check in. 
  • Specifically state why you are concerned and what you have observed. You might say, “I’ve noticed that you seem very distracted in class. How is everything going?”
  • Ask the student about how s/he's has been functioning in day to day life (i.e. any problems with sleep, appetite, concentration).
  • Listen carefully to the student’s responses. Repeat back main points to communicate that you understand. Clarify vague, confusing, or disturbing comments (e.g. “Can you tell me what you mean when you say you are 'done'?").
  • Ask the student what kind of social support s/he has.
  • Instill hope that things can get better and that help is available.
  • Suggest counseling as a possible resource rather than something the student must do. Counseling can be framed as a way to better understand oneself or as a way of achieve personal growth.
  • Respect your own limits and availability and trust your instincts regarding the need for additional help.
  • Consult with colleagues, the Dean of Students (508-626-4596), Counseling Center staff, or others as needed.
  • After you have talked with the student about counseling, you may call the Counseling Center with the student present and have him/her make an appointment. You may also walk the student to the Counseling Center to arrange an appointment.

If at any time you feel unsafe or feel the student is so distressed that they may be unsafe to him/herself or to others, contact Campus Police at Extension 4911 (508-626-4911).