Making A Referral To CAPS

A referral to CAPS should be considered when you believe a student's problems go beyond your own experience and expertise, or when you feel uncomfortable helping a student with some issue. A referral may be made either because of the way the student's problems are interfering with their academic work or with your teaching, or because observation of the student's personal behavior raises concerns apart from his or her academic work.

While many students seek help on their own, your exposure to students increases the likelihood you will identify signs or behaviors of distress in a student, or that a student will ask you for help.  What can you do?
You can help by telling the student that they can go to CAPS. They will need to fill out intake information and then make an appointment for as soon as possible.  If the student is in crisis and needs to see someone on the same day, they can indicate their need to see the “Counselor on Duty.”    

Other Tips

  • Recommend campus services to the student.
  • Determine the student's willingness to go to a helping resource.   
  • Reassure the student that it is an act of strength to ask for help.
  • Dispute the myth that only "weak or crazy" people go for counseling or use others for help.
  • Remind them that campus counseling resources are free and confidential services.
  • Offer to help make the initial contact with the helping resource.

Each student experiences stress somewhat differently, and many disturbances are relatively transient. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff member about how to evaluate the situation and follow the most appropriate steps.

After the Referral is Made

Making an appointment at CAPS is simple. If a student is visiting CAPS for the first time, they will be scheduled to meet with a counselor for an initial consultation. In an emergency, as defined either by you or the student, it is recommended that the student be seen on the same day.

The purpose of the initial consultation is to learn what is troubling the student and to assess appropriate services for those issues. (e.g., individual or group counseling at the center or referral to a more appropriate service on campus or in the community).

It is important for members of the campus community to understand that the meetings conducted with students at CAPS are confidential. Information or content of those sessions cannot be released or discussed without the student’s written permission. The Center staff adheres very strictly to ethical and legal parameters of Confidentiality.