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How to Refer a Student


Supporting Students in Distress

Students may feel comfortable going to loved ones, faculty, and staff members when in distress and for emotional support.  You are welcome to contact the Counseling Center at (757) 823-8173 for consultation on ways to support students. 

Common Sources of Student Distress

  • Academic challenges 
  • Adjustment challenges
  • Depression, anxiety, stress
  • Romantic and non-romantic relationship challenges
  • Financial concerns
  • Substance use concerns
  • Family concerns
  • Interpersonal violence

Behavior indicators of emotional distress

  • Severe or abrupt changes in mood or behavior
  • Decrease in class attendance
  • Decrease in academic performance
  • Changes in appearance and/or grooming

How to Approach a Student in Distress

  1. Speak directly with the student about your concerns in a private setting.  It may be helpful to highlight your observations.  "I notice you are missing class and assignments.  Are you experiencing personal problems that are interfering with your work?" 
  2. Display genuine concern and care for student.  This may contribute to the student being more open to communicate their stressor. 
  3. Ask the student about their support system and current positive coping skills.
  4. Let the student know how you can help while also holding the student accountable for assignments.  
  5. Be aware of campus resources. (OASIS, Spartan Success, Spartan Health, Dean of Students, Financial Aid) 
  6. Referring the student to the Counseling Center may be appropriate.  Ensure you are aware of the Counseling Center's services so you can provide student a brief overview.  
  7. With the exception of threats of harm to self or others or lacking mental capacity, the student makes the decision to seek counseling services at the Counseling Center.   

Assisting students experiencing suiciDAL ideation

If a student discloses suicidal thoughts, please contact the Counseling Center immediately at 757-823-8173 or     757-823-9000 after business hours for consultation and support.   

assisting students with threatening behavior?

For students threatening the immediate safety of themselves or others, please contact NSU Campus Police at    (757) 823-9000, as the safety of students and the university community is priority. 

Referring students to the Counseling Center

You may refer a student to the Counseling Center by completing a Counseling Center Referral Form (located under "Forms" tab) and/or by informing the student of the Counseling Center.  Please contact the Counseling Center at 757-823-8173 with any consultation needs.