Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff members on a university campus are in a special position. They often have the most influential, ongoing, and direct contact with students. This puts them in a great position to notice students who are struggling. Sometimes the best option is a referral to campus resources like Student Counseling Services (SCS). Your referrals are appreciated, and we are available to consult with you about your students. Ethically, however, we cannot divulge any information we receive from our students/clients without written permission from the student.
Identifying Students Who May Benefit from a Referral
People dealing with personal concerns tend to show signs that they are struggling in some way. The following indicators may be useful in assessing whether or not a referral should be made:
Talking about Suicide : If a student talks or writes about suicide, this should be taken seriously. Suicide is often considered as an option when the person feels hopeless, trapped, out-of-control, and/or depressed. To make the assumption that talk of suicide is aimed solely toward getting attention can be a potentially fatal mistake. If you become aware of a student who is thinking about suicide, please make an immediate referral to the SCS. If a student clearly states the intent to commit suicide, call the SCS (254-968-9044- Stephenville) (682-703-7048- Fort Worth) or Campus Police (254-968-9022- Stephenville) (911-Fort Worth).
Stating a Need for Help : Students will often come to faculty or staff members with direct requests for assistance. Through talking with the student, you may feel the problems are beyond your scope of knowledge or power to change. Listening carefully to students and their concerns can provide ample evidence to support your decision to refer. If a student comes to you, he/she obviously feels that the relationship with you is important enough to value your opinion and response.
Observable Changes : Some students do not directly tell you that there is a concern but their behaviors can be telling indicators. Distinct changes in academic performance, withdrawal from others, changes in class participation, crying, outbursts of anger, increased or decreased activity, and poor attendance are examples of behavioral changes that you may observe. Severe depression, extreme activity level, conversations that do not make sense, and a marked decline in personal hygiene are examples of possibly serious psychological concerns. Any of these observable changes may merit a referral to the SCS.
Medical Complaints : If a student complains of tension headaches, changes in eating patterns, sleep disturbances, fatigue, stomach aches, and other physical pain take it seriously and refer to SCS or to Student Health Center. These symptoms could be related to a mental health concern.
Alcohol and Drug Use : Coming to class or a meeting when under the influence is a sign that drug and/or alcohol use is a serious concern. Often people drink or take drugs as a way to cope with other concerns in their life. Unfortunately, the substance use sometimes becomes a concern, one that interferes with social, academic, and work functioning.
Academic Concerns : Students who have noticeable negative changes in their academic performance also may be feeling overwhelmed with other areas of their lives.
Additional Considerations in Making a Referral : Along with the factors listed above, faculty and staff members should also make a referral if:
- A student asks for assistance with a concern that is outside of your range of knowledge.
- Helping the student with the problem would compromise and/or change the status of your relationship with the student (e.g.: a student asking for money, a place to live, or personal contact information).
- The student feels uncomfortable talking to you about the problem.
- The support you have already provided does not seem to be enough for the student.
- You find yourself feeling overwhelmed, overly responsible for, and/or worried about the personal safety of the student.
- The student is disrupting others.
How to Make a Referral to SCS
If a student approaches you with a concern, take the time to listen in a non-judgmental and respectful manner. If you wish to approach the student with your concerns, do so directly and state your concerns clearly.
Suggest in a caring, supportive manner that the student may benefit from meeting with a counselor at the SCS. You may want to explain the following:
- Counseling at the SCS is confidential. This means that information about the student cannot be released to you, other offices, family, professors, etc. without the student’s written permission.
- The services are available to currently registered, full-and part-time students at no extra charge, because the student has already paid for them through their tuition and fees.
- Give the student our phone number 254-968-9044- Stephenville, or 682-703-7048 – Fort Worth. The student can call from your office or from home. Appointments can only be made, if the Administrative Assistant speaks with the student directly.
- If you feel that the student is in crisis, you can call 911 or our 24 hour # 254-968-9044.
Student Counseling Services provides consultation services about students to the entire campus community. We are glad to answer any questions that you may have about our services, your concerns about a student, and referral options. When you call our administrative assistant will take your number and connect you with a counselor as soon as possible.
What is the CARE Team? Can I refer a student to this group?
The VA Tech tragedy reminded and compelled us to remain vigilant regarding the safety and mental health status of our students. To this end, Tarleton took a deliberate effort to review its processes and procedures pertaining to the identification and referral of students of concern (defined as students who may be at risk of harm to self or others). The result was the Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) Team. CARE is a team of university staff and faculty. CARE was created so that anyone who is concerned about a student, can refer them quickly and efficiently. CARE was created to provide a proactive and caring way to prevent tragedies like the one that occurred in Virginia Tech. Confidentiality is maintained by all members of the team.
Learn more about CARE Team and how to refer a student that you may be concerned about.
Don’t Cancel that Class
Student Counseling Services is happy to come present to your class over a variety of topics, so the class does not have to be canceled. This program is available for teachers, as well as other organizations on campus. Please fill out the form below, or give us a call at 254-968-9044 to schedule a presentation.