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  • May be withdrawn or uncommunicative.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
  • Tearful
  • 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.

 

Printable Guide

  • Contact Information

    Counseling Center

    3rd Floor Lyle hall

    Phone: 717-871-7821

    Fax: 717-871-7960

    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