Guide to Making A Counseling Referral
AT SOME TIME, EVERY STUDENT FEELS STRESSED, ANXIOUS OR DEPRESSED.
However, when these feelings persist over a prolonged 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 agitated or even aggressive.
- May be withdrawn or uncommunicative.
- Speak incoherently with unconnected thoughts.
- May talk about suicide or not wanting to be alive.
- DO NOT ignore such talk.
WHAT TO DO FOR A student in crisis
If aggressive or hostile –
- Call 911 (University Police)
- Stay safe by whatever means necessary.
If the Student is suicidal, uncommunicative, or incoherent –
- Do not leave the student alone.
- Contact the University Police at 911.
- Stay with the student until help arrives.
- Reassure the student.
- Be calm, maintain eye contact and listen nonjudgmentally.
WHAT TO DO FOR A student who is upset, but not suicidal, violent, or aggressive
- Try to get the student to tell you what is troubling them.
- Listen carefully and without judging the student.
- If the student is willing to talk to a counselor, call MU Counseling Center at 717-871-7821 and ask for an appointment to speak with a counselor.
- You may also accompany the student to the Center if this would facilitate their seeking help.
Other warning signs for a student in distress
- Struggling academically
- Withdrawing from other contact with people
- Issues with hygiene or looking unkempt
- Not eating
- Lack of focus
- Depressed or anxious mood
- Increase in substance use
- Risky behavior
MAKING A REFERRAL TO COUNSELING CENTER
- If possible do not hold the discussion in a public place.
- Be calm, maintain eye contact, focus on what is said without making judgments.
- Validate the student's concerns as important.
- Inform student of the free and confidential counseling services on campus.
- Offer them your phone to make an appointment or even walk with them to the Counseling Center if the need is immediate.
- If they refuse a referral, accept their decision with respect. 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."
- Remind students that the Center has “Walk-in” crisis hours from 1-3pm each weekday OR they can call the Center # if emergency.
- They can report any potentially endangering behavior, whether to themselves or others to the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) on the website or at 717-871-7070.
3rd Floor Lyle hall
Hours of Operation
- Mon., Tues., Thur., Fri. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wed. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Any changes to regularly scheduled hours will be posted in the Counseling Center.
- Emergency: 911