How to Refer a Student

A student who desires Counseling, or in your opinion may benefit from Counseling Services, may be referred. The role of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is to help students enhance their well-being and reach their personal and academic goals. This guide is intended to help faculty, staff, and others who are concerned about students. Below are guidelines that detail signs to look for and when/how to refer students in need to CPS for mental health services.

Please click here for a printable copy of the Referral Guide for Faculty/Staff.

Why might a student seek counseling services?

  • Professional counseling services are available to help students in a confidential, non-judgmental setting.
  • Students commonly seek counseling for issues such as depression, anxiety, family problems, difficulty with attention/concentration, relationships, identity-related concerns, recovery from trauma or abuse, etc.
  • Students who are in crisis require immediate intervention.

What role do faculty, staff and administrators play in the referral process?

As members of the Kutztown University community, faculty and administration play a vital role in helping students find the appropriate assistance. The following guide identifies examples of behaviors that indicate that a student may be experiencing difficulties and guidelines on how to refer them for mental health services at CPS.

When should I refer a student to CPS?

Many college students experience times of stress, sadness, anxiety, etc. When these feelings increase in severity or duration, this may indicate the need for professional mental health services. The following are two types of referrals that you can make for students, including possible behaviors that indicate distress and the steps that should be taken at each level.

If it is difficult to determine the student’s level of distress, please call CPS at 610-683-4072 to discuss your concerns with one of our licensed mental health professionals.

What happens after I make a referral to CPS?

When a student visits CPS, a licensed mental health professional will assess their well-being and make recommendations for appropriate services.

Please note: Mental health information disclosed at CPS is considered protected health information unless it involves harm to self or others. Mental health professionals are mandated reporters. CPS cannot release protected information regarding the student (including attendance at appointments) once they have had contact with a licensed mental health professional in our office unless the student gives written permission via our Release of Information form.


NOTE: If you or someone else is in immediate danger, contact Public Safety immediately at 610-683-4001.

These behaviors usually indicate that students are in crisis and may need emergency intervention:

  • Verbal or written statements about self-harm, suicide, harm to others, and/or homicide
  • Expressing or appearing unable to care for their basic needs
  • Highly disruptive behavior
  • Highly unusual or odd behavior
  • Seeing/hearing things that are not present; beliefs or actions greatly at odds with reality
  • Student reports or appears to be in crisis

What Should I do?

  • If the student is with you, stay with the student. Do not leave the student unattended.
  • Regardless of the student’s location, immediately contact CPS at 610-683-4072 (M/F 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, T/W/Th 11:00 am - 7:00 pm) or Public Safety at 610-683-4001 and ask to speak to the counselor on crisis coverage. Do not email or leave a voicemail about a student in crisis.
  • When CPS is closed (after 4:00 pm M/F, after 7:00 pm T/W/Th, on weekends, and when classes are not in session), contact Public Safety at 610-683-4001 to connect to either CPS (if available) or the Berks County Crisis Intervention service (Holcomb Crisis Intervention, 610-379-2007).
  • Provide the student’s identifying information and discuss their situation with a CPS counselor.
  • Then, give the phone to the student when asked. Do not leave the student alone while they speak to the counselor on the phone.
  • You may be asked to escort the student or to have Public Safety escort them to the CPS office (Suite 122 on the first floor of Beck Hall).
Non-Emergency CPS REFERRAL:

These behaviors may not be disruptive to others; however, they may indicate help is needed:

  • Academic difficulties, including missing assignments, excessive absences from class, and/or significant changes in performance
  • Unusual or disruptive behavior in class
  • Sudden or significant change in behavior, appearance, hygiene, patterns of interaction, etc.
  • Student expresses being in distress via assignments and/or via written or verbal communication to others
  • Student reports wanting to talk with a counselor

What Should I do?

  • Students interested in receiving counseling services are encouraged to make an initial consultation appointment at CPS.
  • During this appointment, their treatment needs will be determined and recommendations for on- and/or off-campus mental health services will be provided.
  • Talk to the student privately and let them know you are concerned that they may be struggling.
  • Offer to sit with the student if they would like to call to schedule an appointment.
  • If the student does not want you to sit with them as they make the call, give them the information for how to schedule an initial consultation at CPS (610-683-4072/122 Beck Hall).
  • It may be helpful to check in with the student after a referral is made to CPS to ask if they were able to connect with a counselor.