What to Do
Your first step in expressing concern is to set aside a time to talk privately to the student. You might begin by describing the specific behaviors that have raised your concern.
It’s important that you describe specifically to the student the behaviors that have raised your concern. You should avoid global statements like, “You’ve been acting strange lately.” Such statements give the student no real information and may lead him or her to feel judged, self-conscious, or defensive.
If, after describing the behaviors that concern you, the student does not seem willing to talk, you may want to tell the student about the services available at the Counseling Center and McKinley Mental Health and how to use them or contact either the Counseling Center or McKinley Mental Health and ask for advice about how to proceed. Either way, you should make it clear to the student that you can be available if the student changes his or her mind and wants to talk at a later time.
When you are referring students for professional counseling, you should be prepared for resistance. Students sometimes feel they should be able to work things out on their own. They may react as though you are implying that they are “crazy” or “sick” if you suggest counseling. Your approach to the student and your personal attitude about counseling are extremely important at this point. It will help if you are familiar with the services of the Counseling Center and McKinley Mental Health and can describe them matter of factly and with confidence.
Tips for referring students
In normal times, it would be appropriate to go with that student to the Counseling Center or McKinley Mental Health to make sure they get there. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, for Fall 2020, the Counseling Center is seeing students via telehealth only. Please ensure the student in crisis calls the Counseling Center to speak with someone about their options, or if you are concerned about the student's safety, please call 911 immediately.