Counseling & Psychological Services

When to Refer

Throughout the year, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services receives inquiries from faculty, administrators and support staff. In many cases, due to the frequent contact that they have with a student, they have an excellent opportunity to observe the student. They may be the first to notice the signs that a student may be in need of a referral for professional counseling. Below are some of the general symptoms that indicate that a student may be experiencing some difficulties:

  • marked changes in behavior
  • decline in personal hygiene
  • isolation from others
  • decline in academic performance
  • talks about feeling anxious or depressed
  • makes comments about feeling worthless and that things are hopeless
  • exhibits symptoms of stress such as headaches, nausea, appetite change or inability to sleep
  • has had traumatic changes in personal relationships such as break-up with a significant other or death in the family
  • exhibits signs of alcohol or drug abuse
  • overly concerned about weight or body image
  • manifests a sudden unwillingness to communicate
  • makes references to suicide*
  • exhibits disorientation or bizarre behavior
  • exhibits paranoid thoughts
  • becomes verbally abusive or physically violent
  • threatens bodily harm to others*

* References to suicide or homicide: ALL suicide threats are to be taken seriously. No matter what the context, a student who talks about committing suicide is at risk and needs to be evaluated by a mental health professional immediately. Threats against others also demand an immediate response. In those instances, SSU Department of Public Safety (740-351-3232) should be the first contact to ensure the safety of those involved and determine the appropriate course of action.

Any time that you feel concerned about a student's behavior or emotional well-being, feel free to call the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services at 740-351-3608, or stop by to consult with our staff.

Early adulthood can be a turbulent and stressful time.  Academic and relationship concerns can increase these stresses to an exponential level.  We know it can be helpful to talk to someone outside the situation.  To speak with a professional counselor, contact us at Emergencies.


Risk factors are characteristics or personal history that are associated with increased risk of suicide completion.

Risk is higher:

  • For males
  • For Caucasians
  • With easy access to lethal means
  • When seeking help is discouraged
  • With past attempts
  • With drug and alcohol use
  • With the break-up of a significant relationship; especially in males
  • For those diagnosed with depression, bipolar, borderline and substance problems
  • For those who are impulsive
  • For those who are aggressive
  • For those who have poor problem-solving skills
  • For those who have attempted suicide previously
  • For those who have had a close friend or family member complete suicide
  • For those who hold certain spiritual beliefs
  • For those with a history of child maltreatment
  • For those experiencing loss (social, work, financial, relational)
  • For those unwilling to seek help due to stigma

Warning signs are behaviors or acts that often precede a suicide attempt:

  • Social isolation/withdrawal
  • Feelings of hopelessness/helplessness
  • Statements of hopelessness/helplessness
  • Disinterest in things previously important to them
  • Giving away of possessions
  • Talking about suicide
  • Rehearsal
  • Preparation - gathering or obtaining means/plan
  • Increasing drug/alcohol use
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Reckless behavior
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

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