Referral Guide for Faculty and Staff
From time to time, faculty and staff may encounter students who experience psychological problems. Students may seek help
in crisis situations, with adjustment problems, or for other common concerns. When students present problems beyond your
abilities to help them, it is important to make a timely referral to Counseling Services. A word of caution may be helpful to
avoid any misunderstanding between faculty/staff and student. Faculty/staff should be especially cognizant of boundaries
that define your role in the student-faculty relationship and not cross those boundaries. A student experiencing psychological
problems may misinterpret a well-intentioned act of kindness by a faculty/staff member or become overly reliant on that
member who may not be able to continue providing a certain level of support. Your help can become more harmful than helpful.
Please feel free to call Counseling regarding any questions regarding referring the appropriate service for the student or
appropriate boundaries with the student.
Symptoms/problems that may require a referral:
→ Sudden withdrawal from interactions with faculty, administrators, staff, or peers
→ Chronic absences from class
→ Lack of concentration
→ Dramatic drop in academic performance and/or grade point average
→ Problems selecting a major or making a career decision
→ Substance abuse (e.g. smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes)
→ Loss of appetite or excessive eating
→ Lack of energy
→ Inappropriate or exaggerated behaviors, such as, aggressiveness, emotional outbursts, or crying
→ Thought disorder (e.g. delusions, hallucinations, severe confusion)*
→ Insomnia or excessive sleep*
→ Talk of hopelessness and despair*
→ Major life trauma ( e.g. death, divorce, abuse, severe illness)*
→ Expression of suicidal thoughts and feelings*
PLEASE NOTE: These behaviors may indicate severe stress and the need for immediate counseling services and/or outside
referrals. Please call Counseling Services for assistance at 330.941.3515.
Suggestions for Making Referrals:
Show Concern Show and voice your concern (e.g., “You seem so depressed, I'm really concerned about you.” Continue to show concern by saying, “I’d like to help, but I just don’t think I am qualified. However, there are people on campus who can help).
Reassure: Let the student know that services provided by Counseling Services are confidential, as required by Ohio law.
Neither counseling contacts nor information shared in counseling sessions will appear on the student's record or be disclosed
to family members, or anyone else without the client's written consent. All information obtained during counseling is kept
confidential, with exceptions provided by Ohio Code.
Make an appointment: If possible, make an appointment for the student at Counseling Services with a particular counselor.
The Office of Career and Counseling Services secretary will assist you. This may tend to give an already anxious student a
greater sense of security and may also motivate the student to keep his/her appointment.
Follow-up: Please note that we cannot acknowledge a student’s counseling status or his/her appointment without the
student’s written permission. However, you may ask the student: “Are things going better for you now?” Have you had
a chance to talk to someone yet?” If the student has sought help, encourage him/her to keep trying to work things out. If
the student has not sought help, encourage him/her to do so. Make sure the student understands that you can't help with
his/her particular problem, but that there are professionals on campus who can. If you do refer a student to the Office of
Career and Counseling Services, encourage the student to let you know whether he or she has kept the appointment.
PLEASE NOTE: Don't expect immediate results. Changing ways of thinking, feelings, behaviors, and
learning new skills takes time. Patience and under standing are part of the helping process.