Faculty and Staff ResourcesFaculty and Staff Resources

Faculty and Staff Resources

When to Refer - Warning Signs

Consider referring a student to the Counseling Center if you notice any of these warning signs:

  • You find yourself doing more personal counseling than academic advising with a student
  • A student seems excessively tired, anxious, depressed, irritable, angry, or sad.
  • You notice marked changes in a student's appearance or habits (e.g., deterioration in grooming, hygiene, weight loss, interpersonal withdrawal, acceleration in activity or speech, or change in academic performance
  • A student seems hopeless or helpless
  • A student's use of alcohol or other substances interferes with her/his relationships or work
  • A student's thoughts or actions appear bizarre or unusual
  • A student makes any type of comment that indicates they may have the intention of harming themselves or others.

How to Refer

If you notice any of these warning signs, inform the student of your concern in a straight-forward, genuine manner. Be specific regarding the behavioral patterns you have observed. At this point, suggest that he/she consider personal counseling and refer the student to the Counseling Center. Encourage the student to call the Counseling Center for an appointment. You can encourage the student to do so in your company, or accompany the student to Counseling Services. Except in emergencies, the student should be allowed the option of declining a referral for counseling.

Alternative referral resources on campus are also available. They include:


An emergency can occur anytime and may require immediate action. The following are examples of emergency situations:

  • Suicidal gesture, stated intention, or attempt to commit suicide
  • Behavior posing an imminent threat to the student or others
  • Demonstrated inability to care for oneself or being markedly out of touch with reality

Any reference to suicide should be taken very seriously, and a referral to the Counseling Center is vital; the Director of Counseling should also be contacted immediately. If the reference includes mention of a suicide plan, immediate response is especially critical.

How to Respond to an Emergency

  • If possible, offer a quiet place for the individual to talk.
  • Listen to the person, while maintaining a straightforward, considerate, and helpful attitude.
  • Do not leave the individual alone, unless you feel concerned for your own safety.
  • Secure help as soon as possible.

Whom to Call in an Emergency

When faced with a mental health emergency during business hours, please contact the Counseling Center directly at 828-898-8841; after business hours call Campus Security at ext. 8756, a member of the Residence Life Staff, or New River Behavioral Health Crisis Line at 828-733-5889. If you are concerned about imminent danger to the student or others, contact the Campus Security Office and ask them to send an officer right away. Also, do not hesitate to call 911. Be prepared to give any contact as much information as necessary.