I am Faculty or Staff

Help! I’m concerned about a student.

We believe that all of us professionals across campus are part of a community of care when it comes to the well-being of our students here at ECU. As a faculty or staff member, you are on the frontlines of the student’s life, often interacting with them more than their loved ones. For this reason, you are a key player in recognizing and responding when things don’t seem right. Below you will find tips and information to bring guidance to you in this role:

Tips for Responding to Distress

Interaction with a Distressed Student

Student’s behavior is reckless, disorderly, dangerous, threatening, or is suggestive of immediate danger to self or others (including you).Call ECU Police at 252-328-6787 or 911 immediately*
Student is in distress but severity is unclear. The interaction has left you feeling uneasy or concerned about the studentDepending on the situation, consult with a colleague or department head, a counselor at our Center, or document concern through ECU Cares.
Student could use additional support but is not behaving recklessly, disorderly, dangerously, threatening, or suggestive of immediate danger to self or others (including you).Connect to appropriate campus resource*

*See grid below for further reference

Immediate Attention Needed

Suicidal or homicidal threatsECU Police
Medical emergency911
Violence, stalking, or sexual assault/misconduct reported by studentECU Police

ECU Advocacy

Other Circumstances

Disability related (physical, learning, psychological, etc.)Disability Support Services
Depression/anxiety, Stress management, Family/relationship problems, Substance use, Bizarre behavior, Self-esteem/body image, TraumaCCSD
Medical issues, chronic illness, wellnessStudent Health Services
Suspected eating disorder or nutrition issuesStudent Health Services dietitians
University Excused Absences, Difficulty because of illness/death in family, Wellness matters (food insecurity, etc.), General student issues and concerns, Discrimination by/against students, University life
Dean of Students
Financial issues, Loans
Financial Aid
Grades/incompletes, Readmission, Academic status
Student conduct, Policies and procedures, Conflict mediation, File an incident report
Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities
Discrimination/harassment of student by faculty/staff or 3rd party, Compliance, Title IX
Office of Equity and Diversity

Tips for Responding to More Specific Situations


Responding to Emotional Distress

Responding to Survivors of Interpersonal Violence

Responding to Academic Problems

Responding to Career Concerns


What kind of counseling services do you provide?

We offer various services which include: urgent support services, individual and group counseling, workshops, referral services, consultation, and Collegiate Recovery Community. Our counseling services are intended to provide short-term assistance to students in dealing with personal, emotional, and mental health concerns which may be barriers to their academic progress. Referrals to off-campus mental health providers may be provided to best serve the student’s needs.

Who is eligible?

Any registered ECU undergraduate or graduate student can receive services.

Can I make an appointment for a student?

Appointments are made by the student, but you can support them while they make it. The student can either call our Center at 252-328-6661 to schedule an appointment.

When should I refer a student to counseling?

Not every student needs professional counseling. Sometimes simply listening and offering encouragement and empathy can help a student feel understood. Keep in mind what is a simple solution in your view may be different for the student.

A referral to counseling may be helpful if you notice:

  • Abrupt changes in behavior, hygiene, or appearance
  • Bizarre behavior, classroom-interfering behaviors, or disjointed thoughts
  • Chronic fatigue and lack of energy
  • Irritability, aggressive or abrasive behavior
  • Noticeable fearfulness, tearfulness, or nervousness
  • Poor class attendance
  • Signs of alcohol or drug use
  • Bruising, cowering, spacing out
  • Suicidal thoughts – i.e. “I want to go to sleep and never wake up”
  • A student presents a problem that is outside your range of knowledge or ability to address
  • The problem is personal, and you know the student on other than a professional basis (friend, neighbor, relative, etc.)
  • A student is reluctant to discuss a problem with you
  • A student remains distressed following repeated attempts by you or others to be helpful

When in doubt, consult with us at CCSD or refer. If you have urgent concerns about a student please contact ECU Police at 252-328-6787 or ECU Cares (non-emergency).

How do I refer a student to counseling?

Keep in mind the first step is always how you choose to communicate that counseling may be helpful. You may first thank the student for coming to you and/or sharing. Consider being direct yet caring as you describe your concern for their wellbeing based on specific examples, and explain the limitations of your role compared to a counselor.

Then, options include:

  • Providing the contact information of CCSD to the student and informing them about how to schedule an appointment or access urgent support services
  • Offer to accompany the student to CCSD
  • Offer for the student to call CCSD while present in your office

Some students may be ambivalent or offended at the suggestion. You can point out that it is natural for all of us to need help at some point and that a third-party listener can sometimes help. It might also be helpful to point out that many students find counseling helpful. Avoid tricking or deceiving the student into coming to counseling. If the student is skeptical of counseling, accept their feelings and normalize that is can be difficult to seek help; you may offer for them to think about it. If the student refuses counseling, respect their decision.

What if I have a student in need of mental health support after your Center is closed?

You and/or the student can call us at 252-328-6661 after hours to speak with an on-call counselor. You may also contact ECU Police in an emergency.

Will I be notified if the student follows through with counseling or about what happens in their appointments?

No. The student’s records are confidential, meaning that we cannot disclose information about the student or their sessions without written permission. We follow ethical standards and all state and federal laws regarding confidentiality.

What if the student is not willing to go to your Center?

Listen to their reasons for not seeking help, validate their concerns, and encourage them to try. Consider offering to walk with them to our Center or be present while they call to schedule. You may remind the student that seeking help is a sign of strength. In addition, remind them our services are free and confidential. If they won’t go and you are very concerned:

  • If there is immediate danger, contact ECU Police at 252-328-6787
  • If not, submit your concerns to ECU Cares or consult with our Center by calling 252-328-6661
  • You may also talk with them about other therapy options if they prefer to be seen off-campus

The student has said they cannot complete my class due to mental health – what do I do?

Communicate concern, understanding, and support. Ask if the student knows their options. If not, encourage them to connect with appropriate campus resources such as the Dean of Students Office, Financial Aid, or CCSD. Consulting within your department administration and/or with the Dean of Students Office can usually provide the next steps for you to take.

Can I share concerns about a student with someone else in my department?

When in doubt, it can be helpful to consult trusted colleagues or a department head. You may also consult a counselor at our Center.

What if the student won’t share with me about what is going on?

It may be a difficult time or topic for the student to share while struggling, or they may feel embarrassed or ashamed. If they don’t want to share or get help right now, let them know about the resources available to them for when they are ready. You could also encourage them to share with a counselor, RA or Coordinator, or their parents if they prefer to talk to someone else. Some of these campus resources may also be helpful to provide.

What if my concerns are not related to their mental health?

You may find these resources more helpful.

Can I utilize counseling for myself at CCSD?

We do not provide counseling services for University employees. An Employee Assistance Program (PDF) is available for you.

Other therapy/treatment resources available can be found at the following:

Resources for Faculty/Staff