Faculty and Staff Information
College students encounter a great deal of stress during the course of their academic experience. As a result, some individuals experience difficulty in their personal, social and/or academic lives. Meeting with a professional staff member at the Wellness Center can help students get back on track. Here are some ways to identify when a student may be in need of help and some strategies for referring that person for counseling. When a Student May Need Help
1. Changes in Mood or Behavior
Actions which are inconsistent with a student's normal behavior may indicate that he or she is experiencing psychological distress. An individual who withdraws from usual social interaction, stops communicating with friends and family, has periods of unexplained crying or outbursts of anger, or seems unusually anxious, depressed, or irritable may be suffering from a psychological problem.
2. Changes in Personal Relationships
The death of a family member or close friend, difficulties in family or romantic relationships, or the ending of a romantic relationship can result in increased stress and psychological difficulties.
3. References to Suicide
If a student talks about details of how, when, or where he or she may be contemplating suicide, an immediate referral is necessary. If you are concerned that a student may be suicidal, contact the Wellness Center for consultation at 245-1485. In the case of an actual suicide attempt, you should immediately call the Department of Public Safety at 245-1111 so the student can be transported to the hospital.
4. Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Excessive drinking, drug abuse, or drug dependence pose serious health risks and will interfere with a student's ability to succeed academically. In addition, drug or alcohol abuse sometimes indicates the presence of psychological problems. The Wellness Center can evaluate a student's alcohol and/or drug use and offer referrals for treatment.
5. Physical Concerns
Students who report headaches, nausea, insomnia or excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, or other physical complaints with no apparent medical cause may be experiencing psychological difficulties.
6. Adjustment Difficulties
The process of adjusting to college life can be stressful: a student must adapt to new academic and social environments, and cope with living away from family and in a residence hall with a roommate. Some students feel anxious, sad, or homesick during their first weeks and months here. Difficulties may also occur when a student returns from overseas study or is anticipating graduation. The Wellness Center can support students through these various transitions. How to Make a Referral
• Present your concerns to the individual in a direct and specific manner, but avoid making a diagnosis. For example, "I've noticed that you rarely eat meals with us anymore, you seem tired and sad, and you look like you are losing weight. I'm worried about you."
• Suggest that the student consider talking to a counselor at the Wellness Center. If you are on campus, you might offer to walk the person to the first appointment.
• Even if you think a student needs counseling, he or she has a right to disagree with you. If a student does not decide to seek help, and you remain concerned about him or her, it's a good idea to reiterate your concerns at a later date.
• If you are unsure of how to approach a student you are worried about, or a student has responded negatively to your approach, feel free to call the Wellness Center, Counseling & Psychiatric Services, at 245-1485 for consultation about what to do next.
• In emergency situations involving students who are unwilling or unable to seek help on their own, call Public Safety at 245-1111.