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How do I make a referral, and to whom?

Knowing where to refer students is sometimes difficult, as academic, behavioral, and psychiatric problems often blur together.  Unless someone's life is threatened, in which case you should call 911 or the Department of Public Safety (x 6911), you can refer a student to Counseling or Academic Advising, who can then initiate other referrals, if necessary.  To make referrals:   

  • tell students that "there are several places you can go on campus for help, including the Dean of Students, Academic Advising, and Counseling Services."
  • Reassure the student that it is an act of strength to ask for help-after all, it's a lot easier to avoid facing problems.
  • Dispute the myth that only "weak or crazy" people turn to others for help. In fact, about 20% of all students use Counseling Services in a given year. That doesn't even include students who go elsewhere on campus for help.
  • If you refer students to Counseling Services, remind them that counseling services are free and confidential: they are NOT part of the student's academic record.
  • Offer to help make the initial contact with the Dean of Students, Academic Advising, or Counseling Services: you can make a phone call together to set up an appointment or walk the student to the appropriate office. 
  • Notify the Dean of Students that you have made a referral or have concerns about a student. You may want to make clear that you are notifying the Dean as part of College protocol.

While you don't want to intrude into a student's personal life, it's okay to follow up later (and may make the student feel better) by saying something like, "I hope you're doing better these days."