Faculty/Staff Referral Guide

When to Refer a Student to CAPS

Any of the following signals would be reasonable grounds for suggesting to a student that he or she come in to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for an initial evaluation. Students are welcome to call (860.465.0181) or stop by (182 High Street) to set up an initial appointment.

  • Behavioral Changes
    • Student Suffering With Stress. Stress is a part of every student’s life. However, there are some indicators that, when present over time, suggest that a student’s stress level may be a cause for concern. In these circumstances, you might see or hear the following:
      • Uncharacteristic changes in academic presentation (attendance and performance)
      • Depressed or lethargic mood
      • Hyperactivity and/or rapid speech
      • Social isolation
      • Obvious change in personal dress, hygiene, eating and/or sleeping routines
      • Inattentiveness or falling asleep in class
      • Behavior that pushes the limits of appropriateness and that interferes with class management.
      • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response to events
      • Frequent illness or physical symptoms (nausea, stomach irritation, headaches, etc.)
      • Experiencing an increase in worry
      • Difficulty concentrating or performing typical daily activities

Conversations with Students about Your Observations and Concerns

Consider the following suggestions when you reach out to a student you feel may benefit from meeting with CAPS.

  • Communicate in private. Attempt to set aside time during office hours or after class to speak with a student. Having this privacy also maximizes the chances that you will actually be able to help the student talk about what is most important and also communicates to the student that you take their situation seriously.
  • Be Direct with your communication-Use language that is simple and straight forward to let the student know that you are concerned about them. Describe your observations in behavioral terms, reducing judgmental statements.  Some basic ways to open the conversation are:
    • “I notice you have been missing a lot of classes lately”
    • “You have stopped contributing in classroom discussions”
    • “I wanted to talk with you about your last paper or what you wrote in your last journal entry”
  • Always listen. When students are struggling or suffering, use empathy and active listening to convey you are someone who can help a student discuss their situation in a mature way.  Listen sensitively and respond with alternate statements that might clarify the issue.  “It sounds like you’re not comfortable on such a big campus and you’re feeling left out of things” or “it sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed with your classes and not in control of your time management.”


Know some facts about CAPS. Sharing information about our services makes accessing help easier. Many students can be hesitant about seeing a counselor, so your positive and straightforward attitude can help de-stigmatize mental health services.

  • Share where we are located (182 High Street), we do not charge for services, and our services are confidential. Although you may refer a student, it is up to the student to accept or refuse counseling, and THEY must seek out services from us, we will not contact students to initiate counseling services.
    • We aim to see students for a full initial appointment within a week.
    • We also have urgent appointments daily, between 1-3pm, for those students who are experiencing a crisis or urgent matter and may not be able to wait for a scheduled appointment.
    • If you refer a student, please call ahead and let us know that student may be coming in to see us. We appreciate advance notice and any insights you might have to share with our staff.
    • We cannot share information with anyone, including basic information about whether a student has made an appointment with us, is currently a client, or any other information without that student’s written consent.


Options other than CAPS. Students can benefit greatly from your support and your knowledge of available services.  Your suggestions can influence their next steps.  Eastern’s campus has a variety of staff that can help a student who may be experiencing difficulties.

  • The Office of AccessAbility is available to provide services designed to meet the unique educational needs of students with documented physical and learning disabilities, or other challenges. http://www.easternct.edu/accessability/.
  • Student Health Services is available, by appointment-usually within 24 hours, call or walk in for an appointment.  They offer Primary Care, Women’s Health, as well as a variety of other services.  http://www.easternct.edu/health/services-provided/.
  • The Foundation for Campus Ministry (FCM) is a multi-faith organization dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of the University community.  Exploration and practicing spirituality on campus can be a support to many students.  http://www.easternct.edu/campusministry/.

Learning about the services on campus can give you an edge when you interact with students.


If you would like to share a support service on our webpage, send a blurb and a link to Rapacciuolom@easternct.edu.