Faculty and staff members play a vital role in identifying students who may benefit from the services provided by the Counseling Center.

Your Role as Faculty/Staff

Students will often turn to trusted faculty, advisors, coaches, and mentors for informal advice and support. Although you are not expected to provide counseling, it may be helpful for you to become familiar with signs that indicate a student is experiencing emotional distress so you can respond effectively when students approach you with problems. This section is designed to help you to do the following:

  • Become familiar with signs that indicate your student is having difficulties of an emotional or psychological nature;
  • Learn how to respond effectively when your student approaches you with problems;
  • Learn the steps for making an effective referral.

Signs of Distress

You should consider making a referral to the Counseling Center if you notice any of the following:

Changes in Academic Performance

  • Poor academic performance, particularly if such behavior represents a change from the past
  • Excessive absences from class or multiple requests for extensions
  • Bizarre or disorganized content in writing/presentations
  • Confusion or uncertainty about interests, abilities, or values

Unusual Behavior

  • Listlessness, lack of energy, complaints about fatigue
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene
  • Extreme mood changes or disproportionate emotional responses
  • Excessive crying
  • Overwhelming anxiety or panic
  • Irritability or unusual apathy
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Preoccupation with food or body image
  • Intoxication or indications of problematic substance use
  • Impaired speech or disjointed, confused thoughts
  • Disoriented and bizarre behavior indicating a loss of contact with reality
  • Aggressive or threatening behavior

Changes in Relationships

  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Difficulties in romantic relationships
  • Problems with family members, friends, or roommates
  • Thwarted sense of belonging or patterns of isolation

References to Suicide

  • Overt references to suicide or statements of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Indications of prolonged unhappiness or feelings of worthlessness
  • Perceived burdensomeness
  • Pessimism about the future

Guidelines for Responding

  • Initiate contact with a student about whom you are concerned; please don’t ignore strange, inappropriate or concerning behavior.
  • Express your care and concern and indicate the specific behaviors that are the cause for your concern.
  • Talk to your student in private when you both have enough time for a conversation.
  • Use “I” language that focuses on what you have observed.
  • Listen attentively, observing nonverbal as well as verbal responses.
  • Respond with empathy. Avoid being critical or judgmental.
  • Encourage positive action by helping the student define the problem and generate coping strategies; avoid the temptation to solve the problem.
  • Ask directly how you can best help them.
  • Know your limits as a help-giver. When a student needs more help than you can provide, consider making a referral to the Counseling Center or other mental health agency.
  • Please refrain from making a diagnosis or specific recommendation for treatment (e.g., “You should be taking medication,” or “It sounds like you have bipolar disorder.”)
  • Let the student know that you would like to follow-up with them to check-in again.

Making a Referral

Many students are initially hesitant about seeking counseling. When you have decided that professional counseling is indicated, tell the student directly and clearly why you are making the referral.

Short-term counseling is provided to all students enrolled in a degree program. If a student has difficulties that need more frequent and/or longer-term counseling to address adequately, we may suggest other resources that would be more appropriate.

All Counseling Center staff members have experience helping students with a wide range of concerns. Although we will do our best to honor a student’s preference to see a specific counselor, it may result in a longer wait time depending upon schedules and availability. You are welcome to call the Center and let us know that you have referred a student.

  • Review information about the counseling process with students using the Counseling Center website. Emphasize that services are confidential and free.
  • Offer to call the Counseling Center together from your office. If you believe it is an emergency, you can accompany the student to the Center on the 2nd floor of Bailey Health Center. Please be sure to communicate your specific concerns to the counselor who will be meeting with the student.
  • Drop-in consultations of up to 30 minutes are available daily on a first come, first served basis between 10am-11:30am & 1pm-3:30pm. These sessions are designed for students who have a pressing or time-sensitive concern but who are not necessarily seeking ongoing counseling.
  • You might suggest that the student attend one session before judging whether counseling is helpful or not. For those students who are hesitant, point out that using appropriate resources is a sign of strength and maturity.
  • Except in the case of imminent danger to self or others, it is important to allow the student to refuse counseling.
  • Also consider completing a One Pard Universal Form to alert the Student Support and Intervention Team that a student is struggling and would benefit from additional support.

*If at any time you become concerned that the student is in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, you should call the Office of Public Safety at (610) 330-4444.

Confidentiality

Counseling Center staff members are required by law and by professional codes of ethics to protect the confidentiality of all contacts with students. The only exceptions occur in cases of imminent danger to self or others or reports of child abuse. Without a student’s permission we can discuss neither the content of counseling sessions nor the fact that they are a client of the Counseling Center. These requirements are in effect even when a faculty/staff member has made the original referral to the Center. However, if the student gives their written permission, we are happy to speak with referring faculty or staff members.

While our counselors are unable to provide confidential information about a specific student without their permission, we always are able to consult with faculty and staff regarding any concerns you may have about a student and discuss available supports and resources. If you have any questions about the services offered by the Counseling Center or would like to consult with a counselor, please feel free to call (610) 330-5005.

Simulation Resource for Faculty & Staff

Kognito is an interactive role-play simulation for faculty and staff that builds awareness, knowledge, and skills about mental health and suicide prevention, and prepares users to lead real-life conversations with students that build resilience, strengthen relationships and connect them with support. Click on the picture below to be directed to the online simulation.

Crisis Support Services

When the Counseling Center is closed, after-hours crisis support is available by calling (610) 330-5005. The College works with ProtoCall Services to provide crisis support and referrals.

In the event of a life-threatening emergency call Public Safety at (610) 330-4444.

Additional Crisis Services:

Local Hospital:

Emergency Room at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg (610) 402-8000

2545 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017

Additional Services

Togetherall

Togetherall is an online, peer-to-peer mental health community, moderated by registered mental health professionals, that empowers students to anonymously seek and provide support. The resource offers a safe space to connect with others experiencing similar feelings 24/7, 365 days a year. Togetherall also offers many creative tools and a wide range of self-guided courses to help support student mental health and well-being. Help promote this free resource to all Lafayette students by sharing this slide.

Community Referrals

For those students who wish to seek counseling from an off-campus mental health professional, we offer referral consultations to help students locate treatment providers in the Lehigh Valley.

Psychiatric Services

Students who are interested in receiving an evaluation for medication are encouraged to contact the Bailey Health Center at (610) 330-5001 to schedule an appointment with prescribing medical providers and/or the consulting psychiatrist.

Behavioral Health Resource for Faculty and Staff

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) program provides access to services that address personal life challenges, and connects you to valuable resources and guidance, while providing confidential support in areas concerning the management of work-life issues.