Responding to a Student's Request for Professional Help
cases of student distress, faculty and staff can provide adequate help through:
empathic listening, facilitating discussion by asking open-ended questions,
instilling hope, acknowledging concerns, and conveying acceptance.
cases, however, students need professional help to overcome problems and to
resume effective functioning. The following signs indicate a student may need
student continues to appear or states they continue to be distressed.
student becomes increasingly isolated, unkempt, irritable, or disconnected.
student’s academic or social performance deteriorates.
student’s behavior reflects increased hopelessness or helplessness.
find yourself doing ongoing counseling rather than consultation or advising and
are pulled in directions with which you are uncomfortable.
student shows significant and marked changes in behavior and mood.
personal boundaries have been tested repeatedly.
to the student in a direct, concerned and caring manner.
students may initially resist the idea of getting outside help, be caring and
clear about your judgment that counseling or other options would be helpful.
Also, be clear about the reasons that you are concerned (“I am worried about
you doing okay in school and I am bringing this up because I care about your
academic progress.”). It is often best to focus on the behavior of concern.
knowledgeable in advance about the services and procedures of the Counseling
Center. Check our website http://www.unf.edu/counseling-center or call (904) 620-2602. After
regular business hours, call 904-620-2602 and select option #2 to speak with a
counselor by phone.
to help them set up their initial appointment. Suggest that the student call to
make an appointment with the Counseling Center by calling (904) 620-2602 with
you present in the room. Inform them of the location (Building 2, Founders
Hall, Room 2300). You can always walk them over to the office.
make notes of your interaction with the student for possible future use.
- If you need help in deciding
whether or not it is appropriate to make a referral, call the Counseling Center
(904) 620-2602 for a consultation.
Center staff will also come to your department’s meetings to speak further
regarding referrals and procedures/services. Please call (904) 620-2602 to
Note on Confidentiality
offices that consult with students on a confidential basis include the
Counseling Center, the Victim Advocacy Program in the Women’s Center, Student Ombudsman,
and Student Health Services. As a non-clinician, you can always promise a
student your greatest discretion but not confidentiality. Confidentiality is
associated with the legal concept of privileged communication which cannot be
promised unless you are a clinician, a member of the clergy or the person’s
All clinical contact with the
Counseling Center is privileged and confidential. While the staff is responsive
to the needs and concerns of the UNF community in regard to individual
students, no information regarding a
student’s treatment will be divulged to anyone including parents, faculty
or staff of the University of North Florida without the student’s written
consent. However, by law, a clinician
must report any knowledge of suspected child, elder or other dependent abuse,
or of risk to an individual’s physical safety learned in the therapeutic
environment. In addition, a clinician must disclose records if ordered by a
court to do so. In these situations, the clinician will only reveal information
as specifically required or needed.