A Referral Guide for Faculty and Staff

Students entering college experience significant personal and psychological growth that may at times be very stressful. As a faculty or staff member, you are in a unique position to identify when a student is unable to cope with their stress on their own. You may also be aware of marked changes in a student’s behavior or academic performance. This website has been created to assist faculty and staff with connecting students to available resources offered through SUNY Cortland's Counseling Center. 

For general information on working with distressed students, another online resource is Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training, designed to teach participants how to recognize someone in emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts, and how to engage and connect that person to resources that can help.  QPR does not require clinical training, only a willingness to listen, care, and help.  Members of the SUNY community can register for free by going to QPR training and entering "SUNY" as the organizational code.

Students also may not necessarily require counseling, but instead may benefit from additional support. A new resource, Togetherall, may help. Togetherall is an anonymous peer support platform, monitored 24/7 by clinicians to assure that users remain safe and secure. For more information, please visit the Togetherall webpage.

And for additional information on how you can contribute to creating a caring campus community that helps students thrive, you may also wish to review the JED Foundation's Faculty Guide to Supporting Student Mental Health and/or Active Minds' publication Creating a Culture of Caring.

About the Counseling Center

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-44

The Counseling Center provides short-term therapeutic services to facilitate students’ personal, social and educational adjustment while at college. Professional counselors assist students in dealing with major psychological issues as well as developmental concerns often related to interpersonal relationships, family issues and individual identity concerns. 

Services include:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Consultation and referral
  • Training
  • Presentations and workshops on related topics
  • Crisis management/intervention

When to Refer a Student to the Counseling Center

A referral to the Counseling Center may be appropriate if a student:

  • Appears distressed and displays unusual behaviors or reactions.
  • Shows a marked or atypical change in behavior, habits or responses.
  • Exhibits elevated or chronic anxiety, withdrawal, sadness, or anger.
  • Discusses personal issues that go beyond your academic or educational role.
  • Shows signs of alcohol or other substance abuse and unable to cope with academic demands or other college experiences.

How to Refer a Student to the Counseling Center

A student who feels overwhelmed or unable to seek help on their own may greatly benefit from your support and acknowledgment of their concerns. Relate your observations in an objective but caring manner. Discuss a possible referral when you have time to listen fully in a private area. 

It may help to provide the student with the following information:

  • The Counseling Center sees many hundreds of students per year and problems do not have to get out of hand before seeking assistance.
  • Counseling is confidential.
  • Counseling is voluntary and not mandated unless it is an emergency or a result of a college violation.  In a crisis situation, walk the student to the Center.
  • If it helps to ease the process, make an appointment for the student.


The Counseling Center is bound by strict rules of confidentiality and information on a client is not divulged without their written permission. Unless there is a direct indication of a threat to oneself or others, the student has the right to privacy and control over what information is given and to whom.

This certainly does not prevent faculty or professionals from seeking general guidance or providing the counseling staff with relevant information on a student’s behalf when needed.

Emergency Situations

In rare occasions, you may be confronted with a situation that requires immediate action:

  • A student indicates signs of suicidal thoughts or intent. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions that may help the student to feel supported and more willing to seek help.
  • Indication that the student may be a potential threat to someone else.
  • The mental health status of a student is questionable: signs of deterioration in thought process, staying in the present, understanding basic directions.

 When confronted with an emergency:

  • Do not leave the student alone and if possible, have someone nearby ready to offer additional help.
  • If appropriate, accompany the student to the Counseling Center or call the Counseling Center for assistance.

Emergency Contacts

The Counseling Center will see emergency walk-ins, or take appointments by phone 607-753-4728, depending on the type and severity of concern. If possible contact the Counseling Center prior to a referral for additional information and to provide a description of the situation. In an emergency, you should contact University Police at 607-753-2111, which is located at Whitaker Hall.  Please also check the Counseling Center's main page for crisis resources.


If you are concerned about a student, the Counseling Center is available to consult with you regarding options, ways to approach a situation, how to confront a student in distress or general information on psychological issues and concerns. The counselors on staff are also very willing to assist in directing you to other resources available at the university or in the community.

The best intervention often requires a team approach and the Counseling Center is committed to work together with faculty and staff members to promote a successful and meaningful college experience for our students.  

Campus Services

Counseling Center

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-44
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

Health Education

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-40
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Student Health Service

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-26
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Substance Abuse Prevention and Education

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-1
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

University Police

Whitaker Hall
607-753-2111 for 24-hour emergencies

Disability Resources

Memorial Library, Room B-121
Fax 607-753-5495
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Contact Us

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-44
Phone: 607-753-4728
Fax: 607-753-2367 

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Summer hours:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

Rose Ryan, Administrative Assistant 1

Debbie Meddaugh, OA 1