How Faculty and Staff can help

Faculty and Staff have frequent and meaningful contact with our students. You are likely to be in contact with students who would benefit from counseling either for 1) normal, healthy, developmental growth or 2) more serious psychological problems. On this page you will find a summary of services and recommendations for referring students for counseling.

University students often encounter a great deal of stress during the course of their academic experience. While most students cope successfully with the challenges that these years bring, an increasing number of students find that the various pressures of life are unmanageable or unbearable. As faculty members and staff, you often encounter these distressed students in your offices or your classrooms. Some of these students have not sought any professional assistance. Thus, your role is a crucial one in identifying and referring students who are in distress.

Some Signs & Symptoms of a Student in Distress

Academic Signs

  • Chronic absence from class
  • Marked deterioration in quality of academic work, e.g., good work at the beginning of the semester and then very poor work
  • Excessive procrastination, e.g., repeated rescheduling of examinations, requests for extensions on written work
  • Burdensome dependency, e.g., hanging around your office
  • Alarming content in written work or class discussions, e.g., personalized suicidal preoccupations, bizarre thought processes

Personal/Behavioral Signs

  • Unusual deterioration in hygiene or physical appearance
  • Unruly or aggressive behavior
  • Obvious depression or sadness, beyond the norm
  • Significant gain/loss of weight or extreme thinness
  • Bizarre or strange behavior
  • Unusual mood changes or withdrawal from social involvement
  • References to suicide

When to Refer

  • If there are references to suicide or hopelessness.
  • If the student’s behavior is alarming to you.
  • If the initial signs or symptoms were beyond your level of expertise.
  • If there is no change, or worsening of the situation, after your initial efforts to help.
  • If you feel there are personality difference between you and the student that interfere with the student’s progress.
  • If the student is reluctant to discuss the problem with you.

Guidelines for Your Interaction

  • Make an appointment with the student to meet you in your office where you can talk in private.
  • Mention a positive quality along with the reasons for you concerns.  For example, "Your work was good at the beginning of the semester, but lately; I have noticed a change...."
  • Listen carefully to the student, make eye contact.
  • Do not be surprised or discouraged if the student resists your help.  You are always free to consult us, to strategize about the specific referral.
  • Explain the counseling center is for all students.
  • Assure student of confidentiality (not shared with parents, faculty, RA's or their University records)
  • Refer to the counseling center-not to a specific therapist
    1. Student may need to be seen by whoever is available that day
    2. It may be a longer wait matching schedules with specific therapist
    3. Student may request a male or female when scheduling
  • Once the student contacts the center, all information is confidential (including whether or not they have come in)
    1. If you think there is a high enough risk (not just discomfort) that a same day appointment is necessary, please call the counseling center 937-229-3141.
  • Explain what is likely to happen in counseling
    1. Therapist will help you think about your emotions and will strategize with you about how to feel in control.
    2. Understanding emotions are the first step towards feeling less overwhelmed.
    3. It's up to the student whether to continue counseling- so they need not avoid it for fear they will be "forced" to continue.
    4. Express your interest in student letting you know "how it goes," adding that the counseling center will not be sharing with the professor.
  • Describe specific aspects of the counseling center
    1. Male and female therapists
    2. Locations- Gosiger Hall, 1st Floor- also houses Student Development (thus entering the building does not imply they are seeking counseling).
    3. Hours are by appointment, 8:30-4:30, Monday-Friday, excluding University holidays.
    4. Confidential, your counseling center record is completely separate from your University record.
    5. After hours contact public safety at 937-229-2121 or contact the RA
    6. Voluntary- student will never be "called in" for counseling
    7. Free to students who are undergraduates, have a graduate assistantship, law students or Lalanne teachers.  Graduate and IEP students are eligible to use the counseling center for a fee.
  • Consider having the student schedule the appointment from your office.
  • Communicate your continued concern- but avoid asking specifics after the referral
    1. You may become more involved than is best for the student or you
    2. The boundaries get confused- you are grading the student

Common Questions:

I'm worried about a student and I want to know what is being discussed during the counseling sessions.  Can I get this information?

Once a student is 18 years or older, the student has complete control of his/her medical records.  Consequently, that student needs to give written permission to allow other people access to the information.  If the student will not sign a release, it is illegal for the therapist to discuss the case in any way, except in certain situations where the safety of the student or others may be at risk of physical harm or by law.

What if I just wanted confirmation that a student is attending appointments but I don't want to know what is being discussed. Can I get confirmation that appointments are being attended?

Legally, a release of information needs to be signed to allow us to confirm appointment attendance, even if we do not discuss appointment details.

What if I want to tell a therapist something about a student, but I don't necessarily want to learn anything about what the student has said to the therapist?

You are free to leave information with the on-call therapist whenever you would like to do so.  However, the therapist cannot share any information with you, including whether the student is indeed a client of the center or not, or if they have scheduled or attended appointments, without a release of information.

Contact Information

Counseling Center

Gosiger Hall 1st Floor 
300 College Park Dr 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0910

Phone 937-229-3141