A Practical Referral
Staff and Faculty
Be aware of your role and what you can do to help the student.
For example, you can express your concern. You can listen and be supportive, help with decision-making and make referrals.
Be aware of your limitations. You are faculty/staff and you do not have to assume the role of counselor. You can let the student know that you care and will, therefore, make a referral to counseling.
Direct statements indicating distress, family problems or other difficulties
Unprovoked anger or hostility
Irritability or constant anxiety
More withdrawn or more animated than usual
Persistent sadness or tearfulness
Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness.
"At Risk" Factors
Essays or papers that focus on despair, suicide or death
Statements to the effect that student is "going away for a long time"
Giving away possessions
Self-injurious or self-destructive behavior
Other behavior that appears out of control
How Do I Help?
Fill out a SafetyNet Referral
on the web.
Escort the student to our office (Weill Student Center 017)
send us an e-mail
Any overt expression of thought or intent to harm self or others, including pets
Change in demeanor... student is more quiet or more aggressive, mood appears sad, "low," irritable, agitated, anxious or restless
Negative change in quality of work or performance in class, on assignments, in athletics or other types of performance
Missed assignments or appointments
Disorganized or erratic performance that is uncharacteristic of the student
Essays, art or other creative work that contains themes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage, despair
Other Factors to Consider
- Drop in grades
- Personal losses: e.g., death of family member, loved one; breakup of a relationship
- Failures in class, athletics or other types of performance; rejection
- Expressions of concern about a student by peers
- Your own hunch or 'gut' reaction that something is wrong
- Deterioration of physical appearance or personal hygiene
- Excessive fatigue
- Diminished or greatly increased appetite (visible changes in weight)
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Appearing bleary-eyed or smelling of alcohol.
What to Do
Make contact: Tell the student you need to see him or her; talk with the student in person. Calmly express your concern; tell the student you are worried and why.
"In your essay, you write about death and dying. It seems to me that you've looked sad lately. I wanted to check in with you and see if everything's OK."
"You haven't seemed yourself lately. You've been missing class (assignments) and I wondered if there's something getting in the way of your being here (completing the homework)."
"This is really a difficult time for you. WE can figure this out. WE can get some help from a counselor who knows more about this. Let's walk down there together (phone the Counseling Center). I think they'll be able to help."