Counseling Center Guide for Faculty & Staff
The college years can be stressful for students. Students may experience crises if their levels of stress exceed their coping resources. As a faculty or staff member, you can assist students by referring them to appropriate sources of help. The following information will provide you with some guidance in this process. We have developed additional tips and strategies for Working with College Students on the Autism Spectrum.
Staff from the Student Counseling Center enjoy connecting with our Pacific community in many ways, including facilitating mental health-related workshops. If you would like us to come to your class or group, please fill out our SCC Community Engagement Request Form so that we can collaborate with you. Please note that because of the high clinical demand at our center, we need at least two weeks’ notice to schedule an event. All requests are subject to approval by SCC staff and not all requests can be accommodated.
Areas of Concern
- Deterioration in quality of work
- A drop in grades
- A negative change in classroom performance
- Missed appointments
- Repeated absences from class
- Disorganized or erratic performance
- Essays or creative work that indicate extremes of hopelessness, social isolation, rage, or despair
- Frequent tearfulness
- Expressions of concern about a student in the class by their peers
- Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or other difficulties
- Aggressive hostility
- Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
- A hunch or gut-level reaction that something is wrong
- Significant change in personality (e.g., more withdrawn or more animated than usual)
- Deterioration in physical appearance
- Repeated lack of personal hygiene
- Coming to class hung over or smelling of alcohol
- Excessive fatigue
- Appearing sick or ill
Safety Risk Indicators
- Any written note or verbal statement that has a sense of finality, excessive aggression, or suicidal tone
- Severe depression
- Giving away of prized possessions
- Repeated mention of guns or other means of violence
- Statements to the effect that the student is “going away for awhile”
- Essays or papers that focus on despair, harm to others, suicide, or death
- Self-injurious, self-destructive, or violent behaviors
- Behavior that seems out of control
What You Can Do
- Discuss your concerns directly with the student and listen for their responses. Talking about a concern does not make it worse. It may be the first step in addressing the student’s issues.
- Encourage the student to make a counseling appointment at the Student Counseling Center. While at peak times during the semester, there may be a 1-2 week wait for available appointments, the counseling staff will respond to emergencies on a same day basis as quickly as possible.
- Call and consult a staff member at the Student Counseling Center at 503-352-2191 (open during business hours). Indicate that you are faculty/staff calling to discuss a student concern. Your call will be returned as soon as possible if a counselor is not immediately available.
For urgent or emergency student mental health issues where there is an immediate threat of harm to self or others:
- Contact the SCC 24/7 Support & Crisis Line at 503-352-2999 to reach trained mental health professionals who can offer consultation about how best to support the student. They can also speak directly with the student if the student is willing.
- Contact Campus Public Safety at 503-352-2230 or call 911.
- Consider additional mental health emergency resources and crisis lines.
While SCC staff cannot directly contact students of concern due to confidentiality, you can submit a Care Referral Form to the Student Support Office and someone there will reach out to share appropriate resources. Pacific offers a number of support options for addressing concerns.
Issues to Consider
- Avoid making promises of confidentiality. It may put the student or others at risk if you do, particularly if a student represents a safety risk to themselves.
- You do not have to take on the role of a counselor. You need only notice, care, and refer. Avoid acting outside the scope of your relationship with the student.
- Even if you feel comfortable discussing a problem with a student, it may be beneficial to consult with a staff member at the Student Counseling Center.
- There are professional services on and off campus. None of us has to go it alone!