Faculty and Staff Resources

When a member of the campus community has a concern about a student’s mental health and/or believes a student may be experiencing a personal problem or emotional distress, the Counseling and Wellness Center is a resource for consultation, referral, and emergency response when necessary. The following guidelines may be helpful in determining when and how to refer a student for counseling:

1. Identify your concern(s) about the student.
Students experiencing personal, social or psychological concerns may exhibit the following behavior or symptoms:

  • Isolation/withdrawal
  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue or inability to stay alert in class
  • Difficulty communicating/relating with peers and/or authority figures
  • Talk about concerns or conflicts with family members or significant others
  • Difficulty managing anger
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Depressed mood and/or changes in mood
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Poor self-care
  • Clear or possible signs of substance abuse
  • Incoherence, disorientation, or “out of touch” with reality
  • Thoughts and/or plans about harming self or others

If you are concerned about a student for any reason, trust your instincts. Contact the Counseling and Wellness Center to discuss your concerns with a licensed professional counselor before talking to the student.

This step may not always be necessary or possible. However, it may be helpful to consult with a counselor prior to talking to the student if you have questions, if you are uncertain about to whom the referral should be made, or if you feel unsure about the best way to approach the student.

2. When you meet with the student, the following tips may be helpful:

  • Meet at a time/place where the student will be assured confidentiality.
  • Offer respectful, nonjudgmental concern. State your observations honestly and clearly, based on the facts.
  • Be specific in the referral. Give the student the counselor’s name, phone number, and location. Please note: Do not encourage the student to contact a counselor via e-mail. Although e-mail is a common means of communication for students, it has significant limitations. The counseling staff cannot guarantee privacy of e-mail communications, confidentiality cannot be assumed, and we cannot guarantee when an e-mail message will be read. We cannot provide personal counseling or arrange appointments via e-mail.
  • You may want to offer the student the opportunity to call for an appointment from your office, or to be accompanied to the counselor’s office.
  • If the student is hesitant about the referral, listen for fears or concerns, and try to clarify and address any misconceptions. If the student refuses the referral “keep the door open” if possible (i.e. encourage the student to keep the counselor’s name and number in case he or she reconsiders). End the conversation on a positive note.
  • If you are concerned that the student or any other person is in imminent danger, or if you think the student may be approaching or experiencing a psychological emergency or crisis, don’t leave the student alone. Contact the Counseling and Wellness Center to arrange for a licensed counselor to come to the student’s location. If you are unable to reach a counselor immediately, contact the Dean of Campus Life. Campus Security may be notified to provide additional assistance if necessary.

If you wish to follow-up on the referral, make plans to do so with the student.

Confidentiality laws and ethical guidelines prohibit a professional counselor from disclosing information or identifying individuals who seek counseling. The counselor will not contact the referral source without written consent from the student. You may want to “check-in” with the student in a non-intrusive manner, following the referral, i.e., ask how he/she is doing. Some students may choose to inform you as to whether they followed through on the referral; others may not.

A Note about the Role of Counseling and Other Campus Resources:

The Counseling and Wellness Centers strive to enhance students’ personal development and academic success by providing comprehensive counseling services and a holistic approach to health and wellness education. While a counselor may initiate outreach to individual students in certain emergency situations, the Centers do not mandate student participation in counseling.

If your primary concern about a student involves a conduct issue, please contact the Dean of Campus Life. The Dean can assist with determining appropriate steps, including counseling referral as appropriate. If the concern involves an immediate threat to anyone’s safety, please call Campus Security immediately.

    Manhattan Old Westbury
Counseling and Wellness Services 212.261.1770 516.686.7976
Dean of Campus Life 212.261.1682 516.686.7996
Campus Security 646.273.7789 646.273.7789
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Counseling & Wellness

Old Westbury
Harry Schure Hall, Room 208
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26 West 61st St., Mezzanine
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