When a student need helps for a mental health or substance abuse problem, it’s often first noticed by a concerned member of the RISD community. Experienced CAPS professionals are available for confidential support and assistance.
Faculty and staff are in good positions to recognize students who are in distress. Counseling Services’ staff want to support your efforts by providing practical information about how to identify distressed students and how to make referrals to Counseling Services or other crisis support services.
TALK to the student in private when both of you have the time and are not rushed or preoccupied. Privacy will help minimize embarrassment and defensiveness.
LISTEN in a sensitive, nonthreatening way. Discuss your observations in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms. For example, “I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned.”
COMMUNICATE understanding by repeating back the essence of what the student has told you. Try to include both content and feelings (“It sounds like you’re not accustomed to such a big campus and you’re feeling left out of things.”) Let the student talk.
GIVE HOPE, assure the student that help is available. Help the student identify options for action and explore the possible consequences.
MAINTAIN clear and consistent boundaries and expectations. Be frank with the student about the limits of your ability to help them
It is often a good idea to follow-up with students after the referral was made. Be aware that Counseling Services works within ethical limits of confidentiality, and we cannot give information about the student or specifics about the situation without written permission.
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday
Please call during business hours to schedule an appointment.
8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.