Baylor > Counseling Center > Resources > Faculty and Staff Resources > Faculty and Staff Referral Guide
When a Student Needs Counseling: A Guide for Faculty & Staff
Some signs that indicate a student may be experiencing more stress than she/he can handle are:
• Marked decline in quality of course work, class participation, quality of papers or test results.
• Chronic fatigue and low energy.
• Attention and memory difficulties.
• Low self-esteem and prolonged depression, suggested by a sad expression, apathy, weight loss, sleep difficulties, or tearfulness.
• Nervousness, agitation, excessive worry, irritability and sudden outbursts of anger, threats of harming others, aggressiveness, or nonstop talking.
• Abrupt or radical changes in behavior or bizarre behavior, speech, writing, or thinking.
• Abnormal eating or exercise behaviors.
• Alcohol and other drug abuse.
• Isolation from others.
• Extreme dependency on faculty, staff, or Community Leader, including spending much of his/her spare time visiting during office hours or at other times.
• Marked change in personal hygiene.
• Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly, such as, "I won't be around to take that exam anyway" or "I'm not worried about getting a job, I won't need one."
If a student is making comments such as these, it may be helpful to refer to the Policy on Threats or Harm to Self or Others.
Examples of issues that often prompt referral to a counselor include the following:
Social/personal concerns, Career choices/selecting a major,
Stress, Depression, General anxiety,
Substance abuse, Sexual assault,
Relationship concerns, Racial/cultural adjustments,
Extreme test anxiety, Grief/loss (including loss of a romantic relationship)
When a student is reluctant to seek counseling:
• Remind the student of the Counseling Center's policy of strict confidentiality.
• Remind him or her that services are available at no cost and that both male and female counselors are on hand.
• Point out that a situation does not have to reach crisis proportions for him/her to benefit from professional help.
• Acknowledge, validate, and discuss the students' real fears and concerns about seeking help.
• Emphasize that, although some people feel that seeking counseling is an admission of weakness or failure; in fact, it takes considerable courage and integrity to face oneself and acknowledge one's limitations.
• Offer to take the student to the Counseling Center or offer to assist them in setting up an appointment.
Note: 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 counseling 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 BUCC staff member to discuss what next steps you might take.
When a student agrees that counseling might be useful, there are several possible steps to take, depending on the student's attitude and the urgency of the situation:
A. Give the student information about counseling options and urge him/her to call for an appointment.
B. Invite the student to call us from your office or room right then.
C. Offer to accompany the student yourself to BUCC and to provide a BUCC staff member with some background information.
Note: Once a student contacts BUCC or Spiritual Life, 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. Appointments typically last 50 minutes. In an emergency, as defined either by you or by the student, arrangements will be made to see the student more promptly.