The Roanoke College Counseling Center is prepared to meet the mental health needs of students learning to succeed in college and in life. The Counseling Center is located in Morehead Hall and offers personal counseling services for students. We also offer consultation with College community members about how best to respond to students in distress. There is no charge to students for services at the Counseling Center. Personal counseling 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 (540) 375-2302.
Prior to first meeting with a counselor, students will complete information sheets and consent forms. During the first visit, students work with counselors to develop a course of action, which typically includes continuing counseling on campus, but may involve a referral to another health provider or even an off-campus counselor. Occasionally, one session may prove sufficient. Most often, the student and Counseling Center counselor decide to meet on an ongoing basis, usually once a week. 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 tend to trust and confide in College personnel, letting them know of their struggles. Many faculty and staff members are so involved with students 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 or class interactions such as participation levels, interfering avoidance or anxiety responses, or 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 Get A Distressed Student 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" tends to provoke them proving you wrong, but letting them know you think talking with a counselor could be a helpful way for them to better figure out how to get what they want is generally more inviting. 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 to the Counseling Center. If you would like, you can use my telephone now and call the Counseling Center to schedule an appointment. I am also more than willing to walk over to the Counseling Center with you.
- Don't hesitate to follow-up privately with a student to ask if he/she made a successful contact with the Counseling Center. 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 the Counseling Center 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:
- If possible, provide a quiet, undemanding place for the student, and a calm, supportive attitude.
- 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 Counseling Center 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 or click here to link to their website.