While we only provide services to our students, we recognize college can be a difficult time for the family and friends of a student as well. If you’re looking for ways to adapt to your loved one’s going off to college, try looking at our Family and Friends Resource Guide.
If you are a staff member trying to help a student, please see the information below about how to consult with CAPS and how to refer a student to CAPS.
CAPS staff are available to consult with students and faculty around a variety of mental health-related issues such as:
- Concerns about the welfare/mental health of a particular student
- Concerns about the university community’s reaction to a traumatic event
- Suggestions/help on how to refer someone to CAPS services
CAPS staff are also available to conduct educational programming for campus members. Call 848-932-7884 to speak to a CAPS staff member about the ways we can be of help. CAPS staff will make every effort to respond to your request in a timely manner.
A referral for counseling 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. You might refer a student 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 their academic work.
Signs of Concern
- Marked decline in the quality of a student’s course work and/or class participation; increased absence from class and/or failure to turn in work
- Prolonged depression, suggested by a sad expression, apathy, weight loss, sleeping difficulty, tearfulness
- Nervousness, agitation, excessive worry; irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking
- Bizarre, strange behavior or speech
- Extreme dependency on faculty/staff, including spending much of their time visiting during office hours or at other times
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Direct statements indicating family problems, including personal losses such as the death of a family member or the break-up of a relationship
- Expressions of concern about a student by peers
- Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly such as, “I won’t be around to take that exam anyway” or “I’m not worried about getting a job; I won’t need one”
- Comments in a student’s paper that arouse concern
Everyone experiences stress differently, and many disturbances may be relatively transient. However, you may become alarmed by even brief changes that are extreme or by significant changes that continue for some time. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, you are encouraged to consult a counselor at CAPS.
How to Refer a Student
If a student agrees that counseling might be useful, there are several possible steps to take, depending on the urgency of the situation.
- Give the student information about CAPS and encourage him or her to call. Offer to let the student call from your office right then. (Some students will appreciate this support and therefore more likely to call).
- Accompany the student yourself to make sure he or she arrives at CAPS, and provide the center with any necessary information. (We appreciate you calling ahead if the student is being brought over or sent directly, so that plans can be made to have a counselor available)
- If you don’t expect to speak to a student in-person (e.g., only through emails), or you have an urgent concern, the Dean of Students Office can reach out to him/her in a more active way.
Working with Students Yourself
In some cases, students who seek your help may work more effectively with you rather than being referred to counseling. Your willingness to listen may be very important to those students. You may also choose to work with these students on improving their academic work without focusing on the psychological issues that underlie the behavior. You can always consult with a counselor at CAPS on how to best handle either of these approaches or how to make a referral.
We treat all of our contacts with students confidentially and in accord with the State of New Jersey mental health regulations governing our professions. We adhere to the HIPAA laws which further ensure that student’s protected health information is properly managed. We can disclose that a student is receiving psychological services/has followed through with your referral only if the student signs an authorization giving us permission to do so. We can release information without a student’s written consent only in those circumstances in which there is imminent danger to the student or to others; in cases of child or elder abuse; when court-ordered to do so; or when otherwise required by law. All students who come to CAPS for services receive our Notice of Privacy Practices, which articulates how we protect their information.