Marcie Wiseman in her office

Faculty & Staff Resources

Administrators, faculty, staff, students and parents at Valdosta State University have access to the expertise of our professional staff. While we primarily serve students, we also provide consultation services such as:

  • Consulting with VSU faculty, staff, and parents about how to help a student in distress
  • Liaison relationships between our staff and campus organizations to assure continuity of care and timely exchange of important information

Under Georgia law, mental health records are privileged and confidential. Specific information regarding a student under our care will not be released unless the student has permitted us to do so. Without a release of information we can neither confirm nor deny that a student is receiving services at the Counseling Center. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur only under certain circumstances. These exceptions include serious immediate threat to the life or welfare of the student or to the life or welfare of another person or to the campus community. For more information see Confidentiality.

Referring a Distressed Student for Counseling

When Should You Consider Intervening?

In general, you should consider referring students for counseling if their problems have compromised their ability to function academically, personally, or socially, or to take pleasure in life.

Some signs and symptoms of student distress are procrastination and poorly prepared work, infrequent class attendance, lack of energy, falling asleep in class, marked changes in personal hygiene, impaired speech or garbled and disjointed thoughts, threats to harm oneself or others, and high level of irritability.

Faculty may observe other behaviors that indicate student distress, such as frequently missed classes, social withdrawal, crying in the office, or disturbing material in academic assignments.

How Should You Intervene?

Guidelines for intervention include:

      • Talk to the student in private
      • Specifically state your reasons for concern
      • Listen carefully
      • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental
      • Discuss with the student a referral to the Counseling Center

Ways you can assist a student who is reluctant to seek counseling: 
        • Remind the student of the Counseling Center's policy of strict confidentiality
        • Remind them that services are available at no cost
        • Point out that a situation does not have to reach crisis proportions for him/her to benefit from professional help
        • Acknowledge, validate, and discuss the students' real fears and concerns about seeking help
        • Emphasize that, although some people feel that seeking counseling is an admission of weakness or failure; in fact, it takes considerable courage and integrity to face oneself and acknowledge one's limitations.
        • Offer to accompany the student to the Counseling Center or offer to assist them in setting up an appointment.

What If The Student Refuses Help?

While it is important to care about the emotional well being of students, we cannot make their decisions for them, and counseling is always a personal choice. If the student resists referral and you remain uncomfortable with the situation, contact the Counseling Center at 333-5940 to discuss your concern.

If an emergency exists after Center hours, a counselor can be reached through the University Police (259-5555) or your Resident Hall Director.