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Making Referrals to the Iona College Counseling Center

What You Should Know

Recent empirical data indicate that nationally the prevalence of severe emotional disturbance among college students that can lead to harm to self or others is increasing significantly. Because these data mirror our own experience, the staff of the Iona College Counseling would like to assist our colleagues in encouraging students to make the best use of our clinical services. If any student with whom you have contact appears to have a psychological problem or concern which may require professional attention, please consider a referral to the Counseling Center.

How to Identify Psychologically At-risk Students

Below are some behaviors that indicate that a student may be experiencing emotional or psychological problems:

  • direct statements by students of their intention to harm themselves or others;
  • inability to complete class assignments, or meet responsibilities as student-workers or expectations as student-athletes;
  • missing exams, excessive class absences, missing work or team practices;
  • disclosing disturbing information either verbally or in written materials such as e-mails, assigned papers, journals or autobiographies. Examples of disturbing information include disclosure of sexual abuse, domestic violence, being stalked, sexual assault, bias incidents or hate crimes, eating disorders, substance abuse, panic attacks, phobias, and/or depression;
  • indirect statements that suggest hopelessness, and/or suicidal or homicidal ideation;
  • abrupt decline in academic or athletic performance, and/or deterioration of physical appearance, including wearing odd or bizarre clothing, looking unkempt and disheveled, or sudden weight loss;
  • explicit signs of emotional distress, including tearfulness, belligerence, nervousness, lack of concentration, evidence of claustrophobia and/or hallucinations or exhibiting other odd or unusual behaviors, such as talking to oneself or self-injurious behavior (often manifested by cuts or scars on arms or legs);
  • inappropriate classroom, workplace or team behavior, including being disruptive or uncooperative, demanding excessive attention, habitually sleeping in class, making irrelevant, nonsensical, threatening and/or bizarre comments, interrupting the lecturer, being unable to sit still and/or to stop talking. Any behavior that disrupts the learning environment of other students and/or the ability of a faculty member to effectively manage the classroom may be an indicator of psychological impairment and should be brought to the attention of the Counseling Center staff; and
  • disclosure of sexual harassment perpetrated by another student, an administrator, staff person, on-campus employee or faculty member. Students can be referred to the Counseling Center for support with regard to this issue and/or to the College Ombudsperson if they wish to file a grievance with regard to sexual harassment.

How to Refer a Student to the Counseling Center

Give the student your specific reason(s) for making a referral. It helps to present counseling as a positive experience that can reduce stress and pressure and enhance academic performance. You can de- stigmatize the counseling process by assuring the individual that many students use the services of the Counseling Center over the course of their college years and that this is an appropriate way to take care of oneself.

If the student is willing to accept the referral, please allow him or her to use your phone in order to immediately schedule an appointment. Your student can call the Center at (914) 633-2038.

If Your Referral is an Emergency

In this case, it is best to walk the student over to the Counseling Center, which is located on the second floor of Spellman Hall. If this is not possible, please call the Counseling Center and alert us to the fact that you have sent over a student and that it is an emergency. Your alerting us will let us know that the student should be seen immediately, rather than waiting for the next available appointment.


You are certainly free to ask the student to give you feedback regarding their following through with contacting the Counseling Center. However, please be aware that without a signed authorization, we cannot divulge any information about a student's contact with us, as we are legally and ethically bound by confidentiality.


If you are unsure about whether or not to refer a student for counseling, or if you would find it helpful to discuss the behavior of a student that concerns you, please feel free to consult with any senior staff member at the Counseling Center.

To refer a student to a member of the Counseling Center staff, please call:

Counseling Center Phone (914) 633-2038