Staff, Faculty and Administration

Making a Referral to the Counseling Center

College is a time of inner and interpersonal change, challenge, and growth.  It is an exciting, yet stressful time of life. On occasion, students may experience difficulty coping with this stress. As a faculty member, administrator, or friend, you may be one of the first to become aware of personal difficulties affecting a student's life. The following is an outline designed to assist you in connecting students to 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 academic work;
  • A student's thoughts or actions appear unusual to others.

HOW TO REFER

If you notice any of these warning signs, here's how to make a referral. Inform the student in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner of your concern.  Be specific regarding the behavior patterns you have observed.  Be empathic and listen to what the student has to say.  At this point, suggest that he/she consider personal counseling and refer the student to the Counseling Center. Except in cases where you reasonably suspect that there is a potential for harm to self or other (see, “What is an Emergency” below) a student has the right to refuse treatment.  If you sense reluctance on the part of the student, you may encourage the use of the Counseling Center by suggesting that others have found it helpful: it's free, confidential, easy to make an appointment, and they may want to try going for one session. Although we appreciate your concern for the student you are referring, the student has to call and make his/her own appointment.

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 his or her 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.

CONSULTATION

If you are unsure about whether to refer, please contact us either by phone or in-person.  As faculty and staff, you are a valuable referral source and we want to support you in supporting the student.


EMERGENCIES

An emergency can occur anytime. In some instances of severe emotional disturbance, immediate response is necessary for the well being of the student and/or others. If you are unable to reach us at 596-4585, please call the Crisis Cell at 228-8706.  If you do not reach anyone on the Crisis Cell, call Security at (203)596-4501. 


WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY?

  • A suicidal gesture, 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. If a student has made a suicide attempt and is in medical danger, call 911, the Crisis Cell (228-8706), and Campus Security (596-4501).


WHOM TO CALL IN AN EMERGENCY:

The primary campus resources for responding to mental health emergencies are the Counseling Center (596-4585), and/or, the Crisis Cell (228-8706).  A therapist will see a student who comes to the Counseling Center in crisis as soon as possible.

After hours and on weekends calls are dispatched through the Crisis Cell and Campus Security.  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;
  • For the person who is dangerous, provide an accurate description;
  • If the person leaves the area, refusing to wait for assistance, note which direction they take.

CONFIDENTIALITY

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 is necessary, we will 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 about a particular student. In any event do not hesitate to contact the Counseling Center for a consultation.  


IMPORTANT NUMBERS

  • Campus Safety - 203.596.4501
  • Counseling Center - 203.596.4585
  • Crisis Cell - 203.228.8706
  • Dean of Student Services - 203.596.8527 or the above Crisis numbers
  • Waterbury Hospital Crisis - 203.573.6500