Some signs that indicate that a student may be experiencing more stress than she/he can handle:
You should consider referring a student for psychological counseling when you believe a student's problems go beyond your own experience and expertise or when a student indicates she/he is looking for someone to talk to.
One way of introducing the topic of a referral to UCC is to summarize for the student what you see as the content of the problem. Point out the emotional responses that you have heard from the student, perhaps with an expression of concern. For example, "You sound very upset about that. I have found that other students who have felt that way have benefited from talking to someone at UCC. How would you feel about that?"
If a student is reluctant to seek counseling, explain to the student that counseling is not only for very disturbed people. Most students come to UCC because they are unhappy with what is happening in their lives. (We see approximately 800 students per year.) Counseling provides a chance to explore feelings and solve problems with the help of an objective, sensitive and concerned listener.
Counseling works best when the student actually wants help. Even though you believe counseling may be helpful to the student, coercing a student to go to UCC does not work. Maintain your positive relationship with the student and do not force him/her to contact us. If you are wondering about the seriousness of a problem or if a student is ambivalent, call a UCC staff member to discuss what next steps you might take.
Once the student has agreed that counseling might be useful, there are several possible steps to take, depending on the student's attitude and the urgency of the situation.
Once a student contacts UCC, an appointment will be scheduled. The appointment will usually take place within a few days of the time the student makes contact, depending largely on the flexibility of the student's schedule. In an emergency, as defined either by you or by the student, arrangements will be made to see the student more promptly.
It is reassuring to know that a student you have referred to UCC has actually made and kept an appointment. The best way to achieve this reassurance is to ask the student directly. This is also a way of showing continuing concern for the student. We will urge the student to confirm this with you. Concurrently, but secondarily, we will seek the student's permission to contact you directly for this purpose.
There will be times, however, when the student will not want to share this information with you. In these instances, both UCC and you must respect the student's wish for confidentiality, despite the uneasiness this creates.