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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Making a Referral

When talking with a student in distress, you may find that the problem or situation would require services or intervention beyond what you can provide. As the faculty/staff person, you can work with the student to determine what source of assistance would best meet the student’s needs. You may also find that some problems or situations are just not appropriate for you to deal with and/or would warrant professional intervention. If at any point you would like some assistance in determining how to be helpful to a student, please feel free to speak with a counselor at the Counseling Center.

***Unless a student is presenting as being an immediate threat to the physical safety of themselves or someone else (in which case you should call 911), a referral to the Counseling Center is always appropriate when dealing with psychological concerns***

How to Make a Referral

  1. Listen very carefully to the student’s needs and communicate your understanding of what they are telling you.
  2. Talk about what they have already tried to remedy the issue and brainstorm possible referral resources with the student’s input. Try not to make assumptions about what they need.
  3. Present the referral in a positive manner and offer as much information as you have about the resource, particularly what to expect from them. If you have any first-hand knowledge or experience with the resource, sharing that experience could be comforting.
  4. Ask the student how they feel about the referral (“What do you think about the idea? How does that feel to you?”). If the student seems apprehensive, consider more options.
  5. If the student accepts your referral, consider contacting the resource together to set up an appointment or get more information on how the student can use their services. If possible, obtain the student’s permission if you need to disclose sensitive information about their situation.
  6. If the student accepts a referral to the Counseling Center:
    • The student may come to the Counseling Center on their own.
    • You can walk with the student to the Counseling Center, located in the Garcia Annex, room 100 (if possible, it is helpful to call ahead to inform the on-call counselor).
    • We understand that this may be frustrating, but due to confidentiality, we will not be able to provide you with any information regarding our work with the student without their written consent.
  7. If you have ongoing contact with the student, continue to be supportive of them accepting your referral.
    • Although the Counseling Center cannot provide you with information, you are able to follow-up with the student on your own.
    • Be careful to maintain confidentiality by not openly disclosing the nature of your interaction with the student.