Making an Effective Referral

In any given situation there are likely to be several right ways to offer assistance.  The only real risk is to do nothing.

1.   Consult:  Discuss your concerns with the appropriate resource for urgent and non-urgent referrals and notify your supervisor.  If you are unsure who to contact, call:

a)    UTM Student Affairs: 905-569-5758

b)    UTM Campus Police (24/7): 905-569-4333 (emergency) or 905-828-5200 (non-urgent) 

If, after the consultation, it is decided that you should approach the student, here is what you can do and say...


2.   Approach: It is okay to ask and express concern; be specific about the behaviour that is of concern.  Use phrases such as "I've noticed (behaviour). I am concerned about you."


3.   ‚ÄčListen:  Meet in a safe and private location on campus and give the student your full attention.  Listen carefully and keep an open mind.  Use phrases such as "tell me more" to obtain more information and understanding.


4.   Acknowledge:  Acknowledge and express concern in a compassionate way.  Use phrases such as "I can understand why you feel upset in this situation".  Offer hope by letting her/him know you and the University are there to help and that she/he is not alone.


5.   Resource:  Ask what resources they know of that could help - this allows her/him to feel as though they are part of the process. If she/he is not familiar with any resources, introduce what is available and share whatever information you have about the resources.


6.   Connect: Facilitate the connection by offering to sit with the student while she/he makes the call.  Follow up with the student to demonstrate that you care and to ask if the referral was effective.  You can be supportive and provide additional resources but you are not responsible for her/his ongoing care.


If a student says "no" to a referral, respect her/his decision.  Unless it is an emergency (life threatening situation/threat of immediate physical danger), accepting or refusing assistance should be left up to the student.