Department of Public Safety

690 South Church Street
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
610-436-3311


Assistance and Intervention

 

Why Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

How to Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

Crisis Response

What to Do for Violent Behaviors

Why Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

There are various reasons why you might want to refer a student to the Counseling Center. Some examples follow:

  • If you think the student’s problem is not getting better and you are becoming more uncomfortable attempting to help the student.
  • If the student is becoming more resistant to your help or is unwilling/unable to change.
  • If the student wants to confide in you and asks you to promise that you won’t share what he/she tell you. Never agree to this – the student wants you to feel as trapped as he/she feels and this will only draw you into the dilemma more.
  • If you notice your own stress level escalating or you begin to regret making yourself available to the student – these are likely signs that you are feeling in over your head.

Should you suggest that the student go to the Counseling Center, do not be surprised if you are met with resistance. Oftentimes, students feel that they already shared what’s bothering them with you (a faculty or staff member) and they don’t want to confide in a stranger at the Counseling Center. This is the time to point out that having an objective professional who specializes in mental health is exactly who they should be seeing. Everything shared will be kept in confidence as required by law. (NOTE: Limits to confidentiality include danger to oneself or others, in which case proper authorities must be notified for the student’s safety.)

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How to Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

When classes are in session, students may walk to the Counseling Center or call for an appointment. If the student indicates he/she will walk directly over, let the student know that you will call ahead. This way, you can provide advance information prior to the student showing up for an appointment. If the student needs immediate assistance, a faculty/staff member may walk a student over and indicate that the student’s needs are urgent. In addition, licensed psychologists are available to consult with a faculty or staff member regarding psychological concerns.

The Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 8am until 4:30pm when classes are in session.

Any emergencies that occur after-hours are handled by contacting Public Safety; officers will page the on-call psychologist.

Should a student be receptive to seeing a psychologist but resistant to seeing one on campus, the Counseling Center maintains a listing of area counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. In addition, students with insurance will typically have a Member Services phone number on the back of the insurance card or a web site affiliated with the insurance carrier listed on the card.

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Crisis Response

If an emergency of a psychological nature occurs after business hours, call WCU Public Safety at 610-436-3311 and the on-call psychologist will be paged. Should you feel that the student is in imminent danger, call Public Safety, so that transportation to an area hospital can be arranged. If the student is agreeable to having one’s parents voluntarily involved, contact the parents in the presence of the student. Never leave a suicidal individual alone while you are making arrangements.

If the emergency occurs when classes are not in session, call Valley Creek Crisis Center 610-918-2100 . They will dispatch a Mobile Crisis Unit to assist the student, conduct the assessment, and transport the student to the hospital, if deemed necessary.

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What to Do for Violent Behaviors

When you notice some of the violent behaviors in an individual, there are several things you can do. First of all, stay safe. Do not allow yourself to be left alone with someone who is prone to violence. If a student tends to act out in the classroom, try to avoid such situations by stopping behavior before it gets out of control. Once you sense that a student is becoming upset, give him/her the option to leave. Make an observation that things seem to be getting heated, so “let’s all take a break.” Let the student leave the classroom. If you sense that there is one student who tends to push another student’s buttons, let the violent-prone student leave and speak with the student who may be instigating problems.

When you have a violent-prone student, confide in someone about the individual. Find a colleague you trust and respect and share the situation with him/her. On the one hand, you want to have a way to vent and get a seasoned professional’s opinion. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the only one who knows about the student’s behavior and does nothing. Sharing concerns about a student is the best way to find out if others have similar observations.

If you are fearful of a student’s actions or behaviors, contact Public Safety immediately. Threat Assessment Team can also be accessed through Public Safety. Members of the Threat Assessment Team are available to document concerns and to intervene when necessary. The goal is to protect the WCU community at large from individuals who may threaten the safety of faculty, staff, and students.

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