Making a Referral
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.
While counseling services are not offered to online students due to ethical and logistical reasons, the Counseling Center website’s Online Students page offers numerous including referral information, hotline numbers, wellness apps, and confidential online mental health screenings.
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 at no additional cost, 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
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.
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 203.596.4585, please call the Crisis Cell at 203.228.8706. If you do not reach anyone on the Crisis Cell, call Security at 203.596.4502.
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 203.228.8706, and Campus Security 203.596.4502 .
Whom to Call in an Emergency:
The primary campus resources for responding to mental health emergencies are the Counseling Center 203.596.4585, and/or, the Crisis Cell 203.228.8706. 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
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.
Campus Safety: 203.596.4502
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