Resources for Faculty & Staff

Faculty, staff and administrators are often the first people to notice when a student appears to be in distress. In these situations, it can be very hard to know what might help the student, and to find the right balance between offering assistance and supporting a student’s privacy and autonomy. Likewise, it can be difficult to tell, and to know what to do, when a student’s distress poses a safety risk.

In some cases, it may make sense for a faculty member, staff member, or administrator to refer the student to Counseling Services. How a faculty or staff member makes this referral will depend on the situation. Most often, faculty/staff refer to Counseling Services by initiating a private conversation with the student, noting concern about the student, recommending that the student might benefit from counseling, and giving the student contact information for CUNY SPS Counseling Services, email Counseling@sps.cuny.edu and phone number 646-664-8647.  There may be situations where this method of making a referral does not feel appropriate or possible — in such situations, please call Counseling Services to discuss referral strategies.

When a student contacts Counseling Services, the office will offer the student an Initial Consultation appointment. This appointment is free and confidential (as are all of our services) and most often takes place over the phone, though a student can request an in-person meeting if they wish. In the Initial Consultation, the student will speak with a licensed clinical psychologist about their current situation and history. At the end of this appointment, student and psychologist will together create a plan to address the issues discussed. These plans are individually tailored to the student’s needs and situation, but usually include a combination of immediate strategies, ongoing services through CUNY SPS, and off-campus resources. When off-campus resources are part of a student’s intervention plan, CUNY SPS Counseling Services provides ongoing support to the student as they access these services.

If you are a CUNY SPS faculty member, staff member or administrator and you want help thinking about how to help a distressed or disruptive student, please consider scheduling a Faculty, Staff, and Administrator Consultation with Erin Jeanette, Head of Counseling Services. In such a consultation, you can expect to discuss:

  • What you are noticing that is causing you concern about the student
  • Whether, when and how, to suggest to a student that they might benefit from mental health counseling
  • What mental health resources are available to the student
  • What will happen for the student if you refer them to counseling
  • What types of confidentiality you, as a non-clinician, are expected to maintain
  • Your responsibility for follow-up after you have referred a student to counseling

To schedule a consultation, please email Counseling@sps.cuny.edu or call 646-664-8647.

It is important to note that seeking a Faculty, Staff and Administrator Consultation about a student is not equivalent to making a formal report of the student’s distressed or disruptive behavior. At CUNY SPS (and at most colleges and universities) there are important distinctions between Counseling Services and other services like student conduct and public safety. Often a faculty member, staff member, or administrator will consult with Counseling Services precisely because they are not sure which other campus constituents should be involved when addressing a student’s needs/behavior. Such consultation is best thought of as a brain-storming session aimed to help the faculty member, staff member or administrator balance the needs of the student, the needs of the institution, and their own job role.

In an emergency:

If you are in a situation where you feel that your safety, or the safety of someone else, is in immediate danger, you should not wait to consult with Counseling Services. In cases of imminent danger, please call 911 and, if on campus, also notify Public Safety at 646-664-8600. After contacting emergency services, please also notify Counseling Services of the incident by emailing Counseling@sps.cuny.edu or calling 646-664-8647.

Email and Confidentiality

When you email, please remember that email is inherently not a confidential medium. We recommend that you use email to communicate only about scheduling, not to discuss the details of what brings you to seek consultation.  Also, please avoid using student names in emails.