Who needs a referral

A referral for counseling should be considered when you believe a student’s problems go beyond your own experience and expertise, or when you feel uncomfortable helping a student with some issue. A referral may be made either because of the way the student’s problems are interfering with his or her academic work or with your teaching, or because observation of the student’s personal behavior raises concerns apart from his or her academic work.
Recognizable indicators:

  • Marked decline in quality of course work, class participation, quality of papers or test results; increased absence from class, or failure to turn in work
  • Prolonged depression suggested by a sad demeanor, apathy, weight loss, (appearance of lack of sleep) tearfulness
  • Nervousness, agitation, excessive worry; irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking
  • Bizarre, strange behavior or speech
  • Violent outbursts
  • Extreme dependency on faculty or staff, including spending much of his or her time visiting during office hours or other times
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene
  • Signs of excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Binging or purging of food
  • Withdrawal from friends or social isolation
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly, such as, “I won’t be around to take that exam anyway,” or “I’m not worried about getting a job; I won’t need one.”
  • Uncharacteristic comments in a student’s paper that arouse concern

Each student experiences stress somewhat differently, and many disturbances in the 17- to 22-year old age group are relatively transient. However, you may become alarmed by even brief changes which are extreme or by significant changes that continue for some time. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff member about how to evaluate the situation and follow the most appropriate steps. Here is a website with many support services through UCF CARES. Student Care Services is also a great referral for students who you are concerned about dealing with issues.