Many college students encounter academic, personal, and social stress during their educational experience. Most students cope successfully with the demands of college life and the interpersonal experiences that go along with it, but for some students these difficulties can become overpowering and unmanageable.
Faculty and staff are frequently in the most direct position to identify students in distress. In addition, staff and faculty are often perceived by students as the first point of contact in obtaining advice and support. Your expression of interest and concern may be critical in helping a student reestablish the emotional equilibrium necessary for academic success.
This information is provided to assist you in working with students in distress. Counseling Services staff members are available to offer further consultation.
Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Distress
At one time or another, everyone feels upset. However, when some of the following are present, the student is probably in distress:
Any one of the above signs present in a student does not absolutely indicate the student is in serious distress. Many disturbances during college are relatively transient. However, you may become alarmed by changes which are extreme or by significant changes that last longer than is typical. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult a Counseling Services staff member about evaluating the situation and taking the most appropriate steps.
Consultation Is Available to You
If you have concerns and questions about a student, counselors are available to help you:
Making a Referral to the Counseling Service
A referral for counseling can be made when you believe a student's problems go beyond your experience and expertise, or when you feel uncomfortable helping a student with an issue. A referral may be made either because of the way the student's problems are interfering with academics or with your teaching, or because observation of the student's personal behavior raises concerns apart from academic work.
When you have decided a student might benefit from counseling, it is usually best to express your recommendation in a matter-of-fact manner. Make it clear that this represents your best judgment based on your observations of the student. Be specific regarding the behavior that has raised your concerns and avoid attributing anything negative to the individual's character.
Except in an emergency, the option should be left open for the student to accept or refuse counseling. If the student is reluctant for any reason, simply express your acceptance of those feelings so that your relationship with the student is not jeopardized.
Once the student has agreed that counseling might be useful, there are several possible steps to take, depending on the urgency of the situation and how committed the student is to following through on the referral. You can give the student information about Counseling Services and urge the student to call for an appointment. Another option is to have the student call you're your office, or accompany the student yourself. Counseling Services would appreciate your calling ahead if a student is being brought over or sent directly in an emergency, so that plans can be made to have a counselor available.
In emergency situations involving students who are unwilling or unable to seek help on their own, staff and faculty members may call Counseling Services at Ext. 4690, or University Police at Ext. 4700 or 911. After any referral, whether the student accepts it or not, check in with the student to show your ongoing concern.
What Happens at the Counseling Service?
Once the student contacts us, an appointment is made. This is usually within a few days from the time of contact, but can often even happen the same day, especially early in the semester. In an emergency, the student will be seen that day.
Intake forms are completed prior to the student being seen. During the first meeting, a counselor assesses the student's needs and the ways that counseling may be able to help. Options the counselor considers include individual counseling, groups or workshops, or referral to other support services if appropriate. Some students may leave the initial appointment feeling able to handle their concerns without further assistance.
Counseling services provided for students are free and confidential. Information is released only with a student's written permission. This means that a counselor cannot discuss the student's situation with anyone unless the student provides written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur if there is clear danger to self or others or in the case of court-ordered subpoenas.
NEW Patient Online Portal
Need a Copy of your Immunization Record?
(607) 746-4141 (fax)
Hours of Operation
Monday - Thursday:
8:30 am - 6 pm
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Walk In Hours:
Monday through Thursday:
8:30 am to 11 am;
2 pm to 5:30 pm
8:30 am to 11 am; 2 to 4 pm
Nurse Appointment Hours:
Monday through Thursday:
11 am to 2 pm;
11 am to 2 pm
Make an appointment with a counselor by stopping by Foreman Hall or by calling (607) 746-4690. Same-day crisis appointments are available if needed.
Contact University Police
Dial 911 or call O'Connor Hospital in Delhi at (607) 746-0300