Referring Others to the Counseling Service

It is an important and sometimes difficult task. Suggested guides to approach someone whom you feel needs help:

  • Every year many students, faculty and staff call or come to the University Counseling Service expressing concern for a student, whether that person is a friend, relative or roommate.

  • We recommend that you approach the student you are concerned about in a gentle, caring and non-judgmental manner and specifically state why you are concerned.

  • Then suggest that he/she seek out a professional assessment at the Counseling Service.

  • Most often, the student will feel relieved that there is help available and will agree to make an appointment.

  • If you want to offer extra support, you can have the student call UCS from your office or room, and/or you may offer to accompany the student to the UCS to her/his first appointment.

  • If the person you are concerned about refuses to get help immediately (and it is not an emergency situation), try to be friendly and remain open to the possibility that he/she may want your help in the future.

  • Some students may feel ambivalent about seeking help from any source, including the University Counseling Service.

  • A direct response to such ambivalence can sometimes be helpful: "If your problem can not be resolved at the University Counseling Service, they can direct you to the appropriate place."

  • If you decide to be more explicit about your concern, feel free to contact the University Counseling Service (202 806-6870) to discuss different options of how to handle the crisis. A clinician will help you to assess the situation and assist your friend:

    • Proposing possible interventions

    • Find the best way to make a referral, if necessary

    • Explore resources on and off campus

    • Clarification of what is going on and how you can be more effective

Feel free to consult with us about any concern you may have to: (202) 806-6870

Last updated July 2014