Connecting a Student with the UCC


As a faculty/staff member, your relationship with the student is our best asset in getting them connected to the UCC or other services. While the University Counseling Center does not call students to initiate care, we will provide faculty/staff members with information on how to address the situation. We also suggest you download the UCC's GV Mental Health smartphone application designed to provide faculty/staff with resources to initiate the conversation and assist students.

Signs I should connect a student with the UCC:

As a rule of thumb, it is best to refer students to the University Counseling Center if your concern is beyond your level of training and experience. In some situations, you will have to make a judgment call; in others connecting a student is imperative.

If you are concerned at any time for the student's safety or the safety of others, please call 911 for assistance. A police officer can perform a welfare check and connect the student with appropriate resources.

A student should ALWAYS be connected with the Counseling Center if they are...

  • Suicidal
  • Severely depressed
  • Abusing substances (drugs, alcohol)
  • Practicing self-injury behaviors (cutting, burning, etc.)
  • Experiencing physical or emotional trauma
  • Has been sexually assaulted
  • Experiencing an eating disorder
  • Having a panic attack
  • Suddenly or dramatically changing their behavior
    (includes appetite, sleep, and mood)
  • Unable to care for themselves
  • Severely distorted thoughts (i.e., hearing or seeing things that aren't there; severe paranoid thinking)

Learn more about our same-day emergency appointments.

In these and other instances, connecting the student with the Counseling Center may be advised. If you are unsure, you may consult with a counselor by calling (616) 331-3266. 

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Career & academic concerns
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Grief and loss
  • Personal growth issues

How to connect a student:

Having a conversation

After initiating a conversation with a student with whom you are concerned, listen to the student in a warm, accepting, non-judgmental way and express your concern for them. If you believe that it might be helpful for the student to seek mental health services, suggest that they call the University Counseling Center (616) 331-3266.

Example of a Conversation: 

"From what we've talked about, it sounds like you have been under a lot of stress. The University Counseling Center here on campus has counselors who have been specifically trained to listen to students and help them manage stress. I'd be willing to help you schedule an appointment. Would that be okay?"

If they reply "yes," initiate the call while you're with them. Call our office at (616) 331-3266 to help them schedule an initial screening appointment, let the receptionist know that you are with a student who would like to make an appointment. They will ask to speak with the student, and you can hand over the phone to let our office take care of the rest!

If they reply "no" or "I'd like to think about it,"  you may encourage that the student seeks counseling, but remember it is ultimately the student's decision. In these instances, you should write our contact information down or provide them with a brochure. Additionally, If the student is unable or unwilling to contact the UCC and you remain concerned, file a Care Report for non-emergency support. The GVSU CARE Team will reach out to the student to discuss appropriate resources and supports, including UCC services.

Other points to assist you in having the conversation:

  • Assure the student that the University Counseling Center services are confidential.
  • Explain to the student that first-time screening appointments are designed to be quick access and are typically scheduled within 48-hours.
  • You may find it helpful to provide the student with a copy of our office's brochure or our web address (www.gvsu.edu/counsel)  to discuss the range of services available.
  • The University Counseling Center does not call students to initiate care; Students must voluntarily request services. In our experience, students are uncomfortable and anxious receiving an unsolicited call from an unknown counselor.
  • If the student is unable or unwilling to contact the UCC and you remain concerned, file a Care Report for non-emergency support. The GVSU CARE Team will reach out to the student to discuss appropriate resources and supports, including UCC services.
  • If you are concerned at any time for the student's safety or the safety of others, please call 911 for assistance. A police officer can perform a welfare check and connect the student with appropriate resources.
  • First-time appointments are designed to be quick access and are typically scheduled within 48-hours. These appointments will gather information from the student to get a clearer picture of their needs and plan the most appropriate course of action (i.e. group therapy, individual therapy, referral to community provider). 
  • Sometimes it is more beneficial for a student to seek a provider outside of the UCC. The UCC will assist with community referral options when the student requests to be seen frequently (e.g., weekly) or when a student’s mental health treatment needs are outside of the Center’s short-term scope of practice