- Talk to the student in private.
- Listen carefully.
- Allow the students to see your concern and interest.
- Repeat back the essence of what the student has told you as a way of “cross-checking.”
- Limit advice to hear the individual’s response to each suggestion.
- Help only as far as you feel comfortable and know when you are over head.
- Inform the student of resources available on campus.
When to Refer
- Test or speech anxiety
- Excessive procrastination or poor preparation
- Attention/memory difficulties
- Repeated requests for extensions
- Isolation from others
- Dramatic weight loss/gain
- Attendance decline
- Outburst of anger
- Chronic fatigue/low energy
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Suicidal/homicidal threats
- Low self-esteem
How to Make a Referral
Tell the individual, in private and in a straightforward and matter-of-fact manner, of your concern. Be specific regarding the behavior patterns you have observed. Suggest that he/she considers talking with a counselor. If the student or the resident agrees, depending on your sense of urgency you may:
- Walk to Dr. Esther Wakeman’s office from your office.
- Agree that the individual will walk over and call you when he/she arrives.
- Suggest that the individual call or see Ester anytime to make an appointment.
- As appropriate, let the individual know that with permission you are willing to give the counselor information about the nature of the problem and the reason for the referral.
Of course, the individual has the freedom to refuse a referral.
Ester can usually see a client the same day when necessary. If you are unsure about whether to refer, call first. We are always willing to discuss your concerns and possible courses of action.
Many students avoid counseling because they believe it is for the “mentally ill.” Our emphasis in counseling is on teaching skills to help students become more functional. Some of the skills we teach include reducing anxiety in testing or speech situations, overcoming depression, interacting better with others, and managing time more efficiently.
At times due to environment pressures, students may feel acute anxiety, sadness, or depression. For these problems, as well as crises or development concerns it is helpful to gain the perspective of an unbiased source. A counselor can help individuals understand their difficulties and cope more effectively with them. You might also remind the individual that our services are free of charge and completely confidential.
Referring a student for a counseling demonstrates that you are concerned and have confidence he or she can get better with help.
As you recommend our services, try not to talk about improving “mental health,” but say things like “learning new skills,” “making an investment in yourself,” and “preparing yourself to be more efficient.”