Guide to Making A Counseling Referral

Addressing Disruptive Behavior

If the Student's Behavior is Alarming, Escalating, or If You or Others Feel Threatened

  • Dial 911 immediately.  Identify yourself and your location, describe the behavior, and request assistance.
  • Inform your department chair if it was necessary to contact University Police.
  • Notify the Millersville University Behavioral Intervention Team at (717) 871-7070 to file a report about an incident or situation of concern.

At some time every student feels stressed, anxious or depressed.

However, when these feelings persist over a long period there may be a problem which is greater than those faced by the general student population. The following will guide you in deciding if a student should be referred to counseling.

What to look for in a troubled student

A student in crisis may:

  • Be hostile, aggressive, violent.
  • Speak incoherently with unconnected thoughts, garbled or slurred speech.
  • See, hear, or believe things that are not present or possible.
  • Talk openly about suicide or make homicidal threats.

What to do for a troubled student

A student in crisis needs immediate help:

  • Do not leave the student alone.
  • Contact the University counseling staff at 717-871-7821 or emergency contact person at Witmer Infirmary at 717-871-5250 or the University Police at 911.
  • Stay with the student until help arrives. Reassure the student.
  • Be calm, maintain eye contact and listen nonjudgmentally.

Student Referrals to Counseling

A student with significant emotional distress or one who manages but needs help should be referred to the University Counseling Center. Students vary in their acceptance of a referral to a counseling center. The following steps will make it easier for you.

  • Do not hold the discussion in a public place.
  • Be calm, maintain eye contact, focus on what is said without making judgements.
  • Acknowledge student's concerns as important but do not overstate the concerns.
  • Inform student of the free, confidential counseling services on campus.
  • Offer them your phone to make an appointment or even walk with them to the Center.
  • If they refuse a referral, accept that with respect for their decision. Say something like: "Please take the telephone number and should you change your mind you can reach specially trained people who have helped many other students."

If you would like a printed copy of the "Guide to Making a Counseling Referrals," please contact the Counseling Center at 717-871-7821.