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The University of Mississippi

How to Help a Student Connect to Counseling

How to assist the student who is reluctant to seek counseling

  • Acknowledge and discuss the student’s fears and concerns about seeking help.
  • Remind the student that counseling sessions are confidential.
  • Remind the student that counseling at the Counseling Center is free.
  • Point out that a situation does not have to reach a crisis state for him or her to benefit from professional help; a medical analogy may be useful.
  • Emphasize that although some people believe that seeking counseling is an admission of weakness and failure, in fact, it often takes considerable courage to face oneself and acknowledge one’s limitations.
  • Offer to accompany the student to the Counseling Center.
  • Emphasize counseling as an empowering tool of change for those who choose to use it.

How to help a student make an appointment at the Counseling Center

  • Offer the use of your phone for the student to call and make an appointment.
  • Consider making the call for the student if he or she wishes for you to do so while in your presence.
  • If you feel the situation is an emergency, call the Counseling Center (662-915-3784), identify yourself, and inform the person who answers of the student’s need to be seen immediately.
  • If necessary, walk the student over to the center. The Counseling Center makes it a priority to see any student in crisis.
  • Once a student becomes a client at the Counseling Center, the terms of confidentiality apply fully. Unless the student signs the Consent for Release of Information form, the Counseling Center may not release information about the student. That means you, as the referral source, will not be able to obtain any further information about the student.

Should a faculty member walk with the student to the Counseling Center?

Sometimes offering to accompany a student over to the center will greatly reduce the student’s anxiety about going to see a counselor. If you do agree to accompany the student, offer to remain in the waiting room until he or she is seen by the intake counselor. If the student does not want you to walk over with him or her, or if you decide this is not an option for you, it is often helpful to provide the student with a brief description of the walk-in/intake procedure or to offer to call ahead and let the center know the student is coming.

What to do if the student resists or refuses to seek counseling

Unless the student is at risk for harm to himself/herself or others, counseling remains a voluntary option for students. Despite every effort on your part to facilitate a referral, the student may choose not to follow through on your suggestion that he or she seek counseling. If you find yourself in this situation, continue to express your belief that counseling could be beneficial, and keep your offer of help available to the student. Document the process for your personal files should you need to verify in the future your assistance to this student. If a student is at risk for harm to himself/herself or others, please report this information to the Counseling Center (662-915-3784) or UPD (662-915-4911) as soon as possible. If the student is with you, tell the student that you will arrange for him or her to be seen as soon as possible by a counselor. If the student leaves with the intent to disregard your referral, you should call the Counseling Center or UPD immediately.

Consultation is always an option

If you have a concern about a student, feel free to call the Counseling Center and ask to consult with one of the staff members. Staff counselors will be glad to discuss specific options for you and the student. This does not obligate you or the student and often helps to answer your questions and concerns.

After a referral

Once a student has been referred to the Counseling Center, he or she is in a confidential relationship. Often, students will come back to you and let you know about their experience. If appropriate, a representative of the center may contact you to follow up or gain additional information.

A referral to the center does not the mean the student necessarily will be removed from class or school, face judicial sanctions or remain in treatment. Should you feel additional actions are necessary as a result of the student’s conduct, you should complete a report, and contact UPD or your academic dean.

The University Counseling Center is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment, call 662-915-3784. If you need to reach a counselor after hours, call the University Counseling Center (662-915-3784) to speak with a licensed professional 24/7.