Identify and Referring Distressed Students

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

The college years can be very stressful for many. In the contemporary climate of competition and pressure, some students adequately cope with these stresses, but others find that stress becomes unmanageable and interferes with learning. In some cases, these students may even disrupt the learning of others.

Your Role

Many students initially seek assistance from faculty or staff members. Below are guidelines for identifying students in distress:

  • Excessive procrastination and very poorly preparedwork, especially if inconsistent with previous work.
  • Infrequent class attendance with little or no workcompleted.
  • Dependency (e.g., the student who hangs around or makesexcessive appointments during office hours).
  • Listlessness, lack of energy, or frequently fallingasleep in class.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene.
  • Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g.,deadline extensions).
  • Threats to others.
  • Expressed suicidal thoughts (e.g., referring to suicideas a current option).
  • Excessive weight gain or loss.
  • Behavior which regularly interferes with effectiveclass management.
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive,or aggressive behavior.
  • Unable to make decisions despite your repeated effortsto clarify or encourage.
  • Bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate forthe situation (e.g., talking to something/someone that is not present).
  • Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful.

Guidelines for Interaction:

  • Talk to the student in private.
  • Express concern. Be as specific as possible in statingyour observations and reasons for concern.
  • Listen carefully to everything the student says.
  • Repeat the essence of what the student has told you soyour attempts to understand are communicated.
  • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
  • Consider the AMSC Department of Counseling andDisability Services as a resource and discuss referral with the student.
  • If the student resists referral and you remainuncomfortable with the situation, contact the CCC to discuss your concern.

How to Make a Referral for Counseling:

  1. Suggest that students call or come in to make anappointment. Give them the phone number and location at that time. It maybe more effective to assist the student by calling for an appointment withthe student present. When you call, identify yourself as a faculty orstaff member and ask for an appointment for the student. The student'sname, ID number, and telephone number are required for the appointment. Makesure the student writes down the appointment time, date, and counselor'sname.
  2. If you feel the situation is an emergency or urgentenough to require immediate attention, after identifying yourself asfaculty or staff, tell the receptionist that the student needs to see acounselor immediately. Give the receptionist the student's name and IDnumber, then ask to speak with an available staff member.
  3. It may be necessary for you to walk the student to the Departmentof Counseling and Disability Services.
  4. If you are concerned about a student but unsure aboutthe appropriateness of a referral, feel free to call the Department ofCounseling and Disability Services for a consultation.

Counseling Services Offered:

  • Individual counseling
  • Brief psychotherapy
  • Relationship counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Medical and psychiatric referral
  • Resource Referrals

Telehealth Remains Available Monday - Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm, Friday 8:30am - 12:30pm, by walk-in's and appointments

  • A 24/7/365 mental health support line for in-the-moment support and linkages to next steps, regardless of time of day or your location. Call us anytime, anyplace at 1-833-855-0079
  • No cost Telehealth and in-person treatment sessions provided by a diverse network of licensed mental health clinicians. To learn about your options just call us at -1-833-855-0079.
  • Virtual Psychiatric Clinics to offer assessment and medication management. To learn about your options just call us at 1-800-820-3472.

After-hours Crisis Counseling available 24/7: 833-855-0079

To get scheduled, walk in or call: 833-855-0079


Department of Counseling and Disability Services
Student Success Services Building 650, Room 252
Phone: (404) 756-4016
Fax: (404) 756-4939

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:30 am - 5:15 pm