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For Faculty - Referring a Student

JHSAP manages four types of student referrals.  The nature and degree of the student’s difficulty determine which referral type is most suitable.

Self Referral

The self referral occurs when the student decides to contact JHSAP for assistance. If the student is not physically in the local area, a phone appointment may be scheduled for consultation.  In crisis situations, JHSAP offers emergency assistance and can be accessed on a 24-hour basis.

Informal Referral

Faculty and staff can make an informal referral by recommending that the student seek assistance from JHSAP, but it is entirely the student’s choice whether or not to follow through with the recommendation.

  1. In situations where a student has shared information pertaining to a personal problem, a faculty member, staff member, or colleague may informally suggest, recommend, or remind a student of JHSAP participation. This type of referral is particularly helpful when a student begins to proactively discuss a personal problem with a faculty member. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to refer the student to professional assistance through JHSAP instead of engaging in problem solving.
  2. An informal referral involves no other outstanding concerns about the student’s ability to be successful in the academic program.
  3. No triage to access services is required of the referring person.
  4. No feedback from JHSAP is given to the referring person.

Facilitated Referral

The facilitated referral is made by a faculty or staff member to a student when it is strongly recommended that the student schedule a meeting with a JHSAP clinician. When explaining the facilitated referral process to your student, it is helpful to communicate the university's desire to maintain and protect the student’s status in the program. 

When a faculty member has observed a student’s behavior and/or performance, and has recognized a problem, a referral to JHSAP may be used as a proactive step to address any underlying personal concerns contributing to the problem.  The referral, however, does not relieve the student of his or her responsibility to meet expected behavior and performance standards.

When a student’s behavior or performance is the basis for a facilitated referral to JSHAP, you should first consult with your division chair, administrator, and/or dean of student affairs.  If the school’s leadership recommends a facilitated referral, the following steps should occur:

  1. Consultation with JHSAP - JHSAP should be contacted and alerted in advance of making the referral. A clinician will listen to your concerns and advise on the appropriate type of referral for the situation, and then discuss preparations for your conversation with the student.
  2. Constructive Conversation - Based on the consultation with JHSAP, a plan will be developed for the division chair, administrator, and/or dean of student affairs to meet with the student and review a written account of the behavior which has become a part of a pattern of decline, or a particular incident which warrants action, including dates and times of the behavior. Communicate as clearly as possible the expectations for improvement and discuss the consequences of failure to resolve the problem. This meeting should focus solely on identifying the behavior and/or performance concerns, not on any possible personal causes.
  3. Making the Referral - Inform the student that JHSAP has been consulted with regard to this situation and strongly urge him or her to access the program. The referring party may facilitate an appointment for the student or leave it up to the student to contact JHSAP. Students should always be given the program contact information. The final decision to use JHSAP is made by the student.

Feedback - Information concerning the nature of the student’s problem will not be disclosed to anyone without a signed release from the student.  With a signed release of information, the referring party will be told only whether the student is working toward a plan to resolve the personal situation and if they are keeping appointments.

Declining the Referral - A student may choose to decline assistance through JHSAP.  Participation is voluntary.  However, the student remains responsible for acceptable behavior and performance.  Further observation of students who decline a referral is always recommended.  If concerns persist, contact JHSAP to discuss whether or not the situation can be elevated to a dean’s referral.

Dean’s Referral

In rare situations, a dean’s referral may be pursued when there are imminent concerns about a student’s mental or emotional health, medical condition, or inappropriate behavior or communication. In extraordinary circumstances when a student has not or cannot voluntarily address the issues of concerns, a dean’s referral may be initiated for fitness for study or risk assessment.  This referral is initiated by a dean, division chair, or director of student affairs who works closely with JHSAP.

Risk Assessment

There is increasing pressure on all academic environments to assess certain behaviors, language, attitudes and gestures that may appear intimidating, harassing, threatening, or unsafe to others.  These situations are often quite complex and difficult to understand.  Because the university is committed to providing a safe learning environment, JHSAP partners with the Johns Hopkins Risk Assessment Team (RATeam) upon request to assist in understanding the concerning situation. 

The RATeam is a multidisciplinary group made up of representatives from the dean’s office, General Counsel, Security, and JHSAP. The effectiveness of the risk assessment process is centered around the interactive and complementary expertise and functioning of the RATeam as a whole. The RATeam provides support, recommendations, and guidance to the administration.

Upon consultation with JHSAP or Security, the dean and/or associate dean may require a student to participate in the risk assessment process outlined at The referral guidelines and procedures described do not take the place of school-specific policies.

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