Counseling services are provided through Student Health and Counseling Services, located on High Street. We offer counseling services for students, outreach to the campus community and consultation with College community members about how best to respond to students in distress. Our services are free for students, appointments last for approximately fifty minutes and are set according to the schedule availability of the student and of counselors. To make an appointment, please call the office at (540) 375-2286.
Prior to first meeting with a counselor, students will complete information sheets and consent forms. During the first visit, the student and counselor discuss student's goals for counseling and begin to develop a plan for treatment.
All information about a student's counseling is confidential, even attendance, except in extreme situations such as where there is endangerment to life.
Recognizing Students In Distress
Students make connections with faculty and staff members, many of whom are so involved that they have many opportunities to observe things a student is saying and doing that could be reason for concern. Below are some examples of how students act when in distress:
- Struggle to manage in their everyday lives: fatigued and oversleeping or not sleeping enough, overcome with crying or other emotional reactions, cannot keep up with appearance and hygiene
- A major or sudden change of performance in activities, either with unexpectedly sharp dropping of work quality and grades or becoming excessively compelled to achieve
- Make verbal or written references to wanting to harm or kill themselves or someone else
- Express a sense of having little worth, that their unsatisfactory life will not get better, or that they are giving up on trying to make their lives better
- Marked changes in social interactions such as participation levels, including dominance or aggression in class discussions or other settings
- Strongly unusual or disproportionate emotional reactions to situations
- New or repeated behavior that strains decorum or interferes with the living-learning environment
- Erratic class attendance or class performance, especially when the student has formerly been reliable
- Repeated requests for deadline extensions or other special considerations, especially when they seem highly emotional or desperate
How To Encourage A Distressed Student To Come To Counseling
If you decide to approach a student about counseling or if a student reaches out to you for help, here are some suggestions that might be useful:
- Talk to the student in private and be straight-forward about your concerns for his or her welfare.
- Listen to the student's thoughts and feelings in a respectful, caring and nonjudgmental way.
- Telling a student "you need counseling" often results in feelings of shame or embarrassment. However, telling them that talking with a counselor could be a helpful way for them to better figure out how to get what they want is typically better received. One way to do this is to say something like this: Counseling can be helpful for people who feel the way you do. I'd be glad to give you the number for Student Health and Counseling. If you would like, you can use my telephone now and call to schedule an appointment.
- Don't hesitate to follow-up privately and ask if he/she made a successful contact with Student Health and Counseling. That confirms to them how much you care about their well-being.
- If you are uncertain about the appropriateness of a referral or the student resists a referral and you remain concerned, we encourage you to call for a consultation.
Students of Concern and the Care Team
Whenever there is a student you are concerned about but you are unsure what assistance is available or your offers of assistance prove insufficient or even unwelcome, be aware that you can access the broader caring community you are a part of by informing the Roanoke College Care Team about your concerns. The Care Team is coordinated by the Associate Dean of Students and is comprised of key staff members of several college departments. This team approach helps ensure consistency of care and action. Each team member brings a variety of skills and perspectives to the table, which helps ensure our efforts are well-informed, appropriate and made with the best interests of all community members in mind. More information is at the Care Team site.
If a student demonstrates a desire to harm him/herself or others, or is physically out of control, or cannot respond adequately to their immediate surroundings in how they talk or act, or acts in any way in which you are concerned about the immediate health, safety or welfare of anyone, then these are situations calling for immediate response. We suggest you do the following:
- Provide a quiet place for the student and a speak to them in a calm, supportive way.
- Do not leave the individual alone, unless necessary to minimize risk of harm to others.
- Contact Roanoke College Campus Safety at (540) 375-2310 so that they can ensure the welfare and safety of the student and everyone involved. Campus Safety will make a determination about involving other services, including Health and Counseling staff participation.
For Faculty/Staff Desiring Services
Faculty and staff are eligible for free, short-term counseling through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as part of their benefits with Roanoke College. Counseling services are provided through Advantage EAP, an affiliate of Psychological Health Roanoke. To arrange for a consultation, please contact the office and request a consultation appointment at 540-989-6605 or 1-800-699-9396.