Mental Health Services for Faculty and Staff

Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) provides consultation services for all staff and faculty. Psychotherapy and mental health assistance are provided only to undergraduate and graduate students. If you are looking for psychological assistance, please contact your primary care physician or visit your health insurance's website to find a mental health provider. You may also be able to access care through Emerson's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


How to Help a Student in Need

As faculty and staff members, you know the kind of stress that students often face when balancing school, work, relationships, and personal development. In your role, you may encounter a student whom you are particularly concerned about because of signs of depression, self-harm, or drastic changes in behavior. In those cases, you are welcome to let ECAPS know about your concern. An additional resource for reporting concern is the Care, Assistance, and Support Team (CAST), and you can notify the team by submitting the Share a Concern form.

Outside of times when there is immediate concern, there are times when you have the unique opportunity to listen, provide support, and make a difference in a student’s life. It is most important that the student feels heard and validated and knows that you feel confident getting them the help they may need. If you are not sure how to help a student, we encourage you to call or email ECAPS for a consultation. Sometimes, the best option for the student may be a referral to Counseling and Psychological Services. Tips that may help include:

  • TALK with the student in private when you both have time.
  • LISTEN carefully in a sensitive, non-threatening way before giving an opinion or advice.
  • GIVE hope. Assure the student that things can get better if they let you help find additional resources.
  • AVOID judging, evaluating, and criticizing even if the student asks your opinion.
  • HELP the student identify options for action and probable consequences.
  • MAINTAIN clear and consistent boundaries and expectations.
  • REFER the student and remind them that seeking help is a sign of strength and courage.

In an Emergency

Try to stay calm. Find someone to stay with the student while calls are being made.

For students expressing threats to themselves or others, or who act in a disruptive or highly irrational way, please call:

Tips for Recognizing Students in Distress

  • Serious grade problems that seem unusual
  • Unaccountable change from good to poor performance
  • Change from frequent attendance to excessive absences
  • Change of pattern in interaction
  • Marked change in mood, movement, or speech
  • Marked change in physical appearance
  • Repeated request for special consideration
  • New or regularly occurring behavior that pushes the limits and may interfere with class management
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response
  • Highly disruptive behavior (hostility, aggression, etc.)
  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts)
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions that are at odds with reality)
  • Overt suicidal or morbid thoughts
  • Homicidal threats

When and How to Make a Referral

Even though you may be willing to help when a student asks you for assistance with a problem, there are certain circumstances when you should suggest other resources, such as when:

  • You are not comfortable handling the situation.
  • The necessary help is not your expertise.
  • Personality differences interfere with your ability to help.
  • You know the student personally (a friend, neighbor, friend of a friend, etc.) and feel you may not be objective enough to help.
  • The student seems reluctant to discuss the situation with you.
  • You see little progress in the student.
  • You feel overwhelmed or pressured for time.

How to Make a Referral

  • Let the student know that you think they need additional support.
  • Assure the student that Counseling and Psychological Services is strictly confidential.
  • Suggest that the student call Counseling and Psychological Services at 617-824-8595. Hours during the academic year are Monday–Friday, 8:45 am–5:00 pm. It is closed holidays and weekends. Summer hours are Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am–5:00 pm and Friday, 9:00 am–3:00 pm.
  • Inform the clinical coordinator or a clinician if the student's situation is life-threatening. Our staff is available on a same-day basis in an urgent situation. You may want to call us when the student is in your office or accompany the student to Counseling and Psychological Services.
  • You can also make a report of your concern with the Care, Assistance, and Support Team (CAST) here.

ECAPS Appointments

We encourage students to make their own appointments by calling 617-824-8595. You can also offer to sit with the student while they call or walk them over to ECAPS (216 Tremont, 2nd Floor) to make an appointment.

At a student's first visit, they will fill out information and consent forms prior to the session. During the appointment, the counselor will begin to assess the student's needs and determine the most effective ways of helping. Options may include counseling at ECAPS or referral to another provider.