A referral guide for faculty and staff:
As a member of the campus community, you may be one of the first to become aware of
a student in distress or at risk. The Wellness Center is available for faculty and
staff consultation regarding concerns about a student. We can discuss the appropriateness
of a referral and help facilitate the process. The Wellness Center is also available
to attend faculty and staff department meetings to review how to recognize problem
behaviors and initiate referrals to the Wellness Center.
When to refer:
- Dependency, excessive appointments
- Change in appearance; poor hygiene
- Change in quality of work
- Low energy
- Sleep disturbance; sleeping in class
- Disruptive behaviors
- Disturbing content in written work or message
- Irritability, mood swings, aggressiveness
- Low mood; crying
- Isolation; social withdrawal
- “Not happy” on campus
- Abuse of substances; drug/alcohol abuse
- Health complaints
- Self– injury
- Change in eating habits; major weight loss/gain
How to refer:
After observing problem behaviors, here’s how to approach the student:
- Arrange a time to speak privately with the student.
- Explain that you are concerned and interested in helping them be successful.
- Describe observed behaviors, but avoid being critical and judgmental.
- Gather as much information as possible. If you are concerned about student safety,
do not be afraid to ask direct questions, such as, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
Asking these direct questions will not cause someone to commit suicide.
- Suggest Wellness Center services as a resource to help the student through these problems.
- If the student agrees, call the Wellness Center (5225) while s/he is still with you
to set up an appointment.
- If the student declines your referral and you are still concerned, contact the Wellness
Center to share this information. A staff member will assess the information and
implement a plan of action.
- If, at any time, you perceive there is imminent danger, call University Police at
911 or 518-255-5555. Then place a call to the Wellness Center 518-255-5225.
When to reach out for help:
The following indicators can be important signs of distress, particularly when they
interfere with a student’s health and/or social and academic functioning:
- Unrelenting sadness, hopelessness, or apathy
- Loss of interest in socializing
- Deterioration in academic functioning, included falling behind and missing classes
- Verbal or written threats of suicide, or expressions of hopelessness or a wish to
- Persistent problems with sleep, appetite, concentration, or motivation
- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
- Impulsivity and unnecessary risk-taking
- Emotional outbursts (unprovoked anger or hostility, sobbing)
- Dramatic changes in energy levels or personality traits
- Changes in hygiene or personal appearance, including significant weight changes
- Noticeable cuts, bruises, or burns
- Unusual or extreme obsessions – with a person, situation, or topic
- Threats of violence
You may notice one or more of these signs and decide that something is clearly wrong.
Or you may just have a “gut feeling” that something’s amiss.
Either way, you should take these signs – and your intuition – seriously. Most people
who attempt suicide, self-harm, or violence give some warning of their intentions.
Any reference of threat to harm self or others should be judged as serious. If you
perceive there is imminent danger, call University Police at 911 or 518-255-5555.
Then place a call to the Wellness Center at 518-255-5225.
Behavioral Assessment Team
The primary focus of BAT is prevention and early intervention for students who are
going through a difficult time. BAT is made up of members from various departments
across campus. Under the guidance of the Assistant VP for Student Development, this
team will meet once every two weeks (more often if situations warrant) to discuss
students of concern. Information regarding “students at risk” will be shared, and
the level of support and intervention will be determined. Appropriate actions will
be implemented as a result of this collaborative team effort.
If you have concerns about a student to be reviewed by the team you may contact Matt
Lalonde, Assistant VP of Student Development at 518-255-5215.