Consultation Services - Information for Families
Parents and family may consult with our counselors by phone or visit our office whenever they have a concern about the well-being of their student at St. Cloud State University. As consultants, our role is to help you think through your options and, if desired, make suggestions for you to consider.
You do need to know that we do not contact students and intervene based on consultation with you. We can help you decide how to proceed, whether that is to do nothing for now, talk with your student about your concerns, or contact the Department of Student Life and Development for their assistance.
Some situations in which parents and family might contact us for consultation about a student include:
- Poor performance in class or a sudden changes in grades
- Changes in personality
- Depression, anxiety, or other changes in mood
- Tearfulness, anger, or hostility on the phone or when visiting family
- Statements indicating distress, homesickness, or difficulty adjusting to college
- Unusually withdrawn behavior
- Drug or alcohol concerns
- Suicidal or violent threats or behavior
- Deterioration in personal hygiene
- Confused, incoherent, or bizarre behavior or speech
What can you do?
- You can express concern about what you are observing and ask you student how they are doing.
- You can listen actively and supportively, taking the his or her concern seriously.
- You do not need to take on the role of counselor, but you can be supportive and offer to help them find the help they need.
- You can refer your student directly to our center for counseling. Depending on your level of concern and whether or not you are near, you might offer to help them call us or walk with them to our center. We try to have someone available throughout the day for this kind of situation.
- Avoid sweeping promises of keeping secrets or confidentiality, particularly if there is a safety risk.
How can we be helpful to you?
Counselors are available to listen carefully and provide information on:
- How to talk to your student when they appear depressed, anxious, or troubled.
- How to suggest that your student get professional assistance.
- How to make an appointment for a crisis appointment or counseling services.
- SCSU and community resources are available to assist your student.
- How to set limits on your involvement when you feel overwhelmed.
How do I go about referring my student directly to the counseling center?
- Express a sincere concern for your student's well-being. Your willingness to listen and care about his or her concerns is often the first step to resolving them.
- Explain that you would like them to consider seeking assistance through the counseling center.
- Many students have no idea what to expect from counseling and many have preconceived ideas about counseling. As a result, share as much information and reassurance as you can.
- Let your student know that counseling in our center is free and voluntary.
- Indicate that counseling is confidential and that no information regarding what is discussed is shared with anyone, including the fact that the student came to the center, unless the student gives permission.
- When there is an urgent concern, counselors are typically available to see a student in crisis the same day.