Helpful hints on how to access services and help students:
Both virtual and in-person Open Hours are available daily, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the academic year. Open hours are offered by our professional counselors for students in urgent need, for those who do not wish to wait for an appointment. These sessions are brief (typically about 15 minutes), but long enough to make a safety assessment and offer recommendations for treatment.
“Distress” vs. “Crisis”: A student is experiencing a crisis if they have already harmed themselves, is intending to harm themselves or another person, or is feeling out of control and can’t promise to stay safe. If the student has already harmed themselves or has been harmed by another, call 911 and then Public Safety (717-867-6111) for immediate assistance. Otherwise, walk the student to Counseling Services on the 2nd floor of Bishop Library (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) for an immediate evaluation. If the student is experiencing distress (i.e., uncontrollable crying due to breaking up or loss, panic due to test anxiety, extreme anger due to an argument), refer the student to Counseling Services to get the next available appointment. Our office is closed on the weekends and after 4:30 p.m. during the week.
How to refer a student. Encourage the student to call (717-867-6232) or email (email@example.com) our office to schedule an “intake.” The student will most likely speak to our secretary, Jennifer, to schedule. You may provide the contact information to the student and sit with them while making an appointment, but you cannot schedule for them. Due to the legal and ethical rules of confidentiality, we are not able to release information about whether your student has come for their appointment. In cases where you’d like to know if they have followed up on your referral for counseling, we suggest you ask the student directly in private to see whether or not they have initiated contact with us.
When to walk a student to Counseling Services, now located on the second floor of Bishop Library: Walk students immediately to Counseling Services if they are in crisis (at risk of hurting themselves or another) during our office hours. However, if they are in distress, please encourage them to make the next available appt to see a counselor by calling 717-867-6232 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We may not be able to see a distressed student immediately due to other students’ more pressing concerns at the time; encourage your student to be patient in waiting for the next available opening.
Strategies for calming the student: Ask them to take three slow deep breaths, talk softly about what’s bothering them or how they are feeling, provide them a tissue or drink of water, suggest a snack if they haven’t eaten or nap if they haven’t slept, connect them to resources on campus, or follow up directly with student due to rules of confidentiality.
5050 Peer Helpers: These students are trained and supervised undergraduates who are available at various times throughout the day in Counseling Services to offer support for their fellow distressed students. Unlike the clinical staff, their services are private, but not confidential. They can be reached directly by looking at the posted whiteboard hours outside the library, walking upstairs to their office on the second floor, emailing email@example.com to request a meeting, or showing up during their virtual office hours (link will be shared this fall). Our Peer Helpers cover about 15 hours/week both in the office and over the weekends running social support groups.