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Refer a Student

For Faculty and Staff

Referring a Student for Behavioral Health Services:

  • How: Encourage the student to come to University Health Services for us to provide them with information about our behavioral health services. Better yet, call 901.448.5630, identify yourself as a faculty or staff member, and make an appointment for the student. Write the appointment time, day, and date, for the student. If the student looks reluctant to receive services, you may wish to offer to escort the student to UHS.
  • Who: Any enrolled UTHSC student whose behavior or verbalizations may suggest that counseling may be beneficial. See list of Signs and Symptoms below.
  • When: Referrals should be made during normal business hours of 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. If an emergency arises after 5:00 pm, call the UTHSC police department at 901.448.4444 or the UHS provider on-call at 901.541.5654.
  • Where: The office is located at 910 Madison Avenue (Madison Plaza Building), Suite 922.
  • Why: How your students function socially and emotionally can have a significant impact on how they perform academically.

If you have further questions about making a referral, please call our office at 901.448.5064 for further assistance.


For safety reasons, if the student’s behavior appears to be harmful to himself/herself or to others, call 901.448.4444 for campus police. This will expedite appropriate care for the student.

Rules and laws governing confidentiality prohibit the staff from discussing any aspects of the referred student’s situation with any one unless the student signs a Release of Information Consent form. There are some exceptions to this law. If the student presents a threat to himself or someone else, or if child or elderly abuse is suspected, safety supercedes confidentiality.

Signs and Symptoms

Many students initially seek assistance from faculty or staff members. Below are guidelines for identifying students in distress:

Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared assignments, especially if this is out of character for the student.

  • Infrequent or marked decrease in class attendance.
  • Little or no work completed, especially if accompanied by a lacksadaisical attitude.
  • Dependency (e.g., the student who hangs around or makes excessive appointments during office hours).
  • Lack of energy or frequently falling asleep in class.
  • Marked changes in personal hygiene.
  • Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.
  • Expressed needs for entitlements such as repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions).
  • Threats to others.
  • Expressed passive or active suicidal thoughts (e.g., I can’t take it anymore, I wish I was dead, I just wish my life was over, I feel like killing myself).
  • Excessive weight gain or loss, especially without intent.
  • Disruptive class behavior.
  • Frequent or high levels of irritable, unruly, abrasive, or aggressive behavior.
  • Persistent indecisiveness.
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations, (i.e., hearing and seeing things that are not there).
  • Students who appear overly nervous, tense or tearful.

Suggestions for Working with Distressed Students

  • Speak with the student privately.
  • Express concern by stating your observations as reasons for your concerns.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Summarize what the student has said to you to ensure that you are communicating clearly with each other.
  • Be objective and nonjudgbehavioral as much as possible.
  • Encourage the student to consider speaking with someone confidentially at UHS and discuss referring the student to our office.
  • Tell the student about our website so they can obtain additional information about our services.


Note: For ALL students (including those off-campus), the Student Assistance Program (800.327.2255) is available 24/7, nationwide for urgent care, phone counseling, face-to-face counseling in their area, and referrals to behavioral health providers covered by their insurance. Student Behavioral Health at UHS (901.448.5630) is also available to guide the student for any behavioral health care needs.

May 2, 2024