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Karen Kirkpatrick
Office Manager

Ph: (540) 464-7667
Fax: (540) 464-7025
Email Cadet Counseling

Monday - Friday 8:00 - 4:30

Center for Cadet Counseling
Virginia Military Institute
2nd Floor VMI Health Center
Lexington, VA  24450


How to Refer a Cadet

When you are concerned about a cadet, it is best to talk with this person privately when you both have time to talk. Try to listen carefully, be willing to help, avoid critical/judgmental statements, and express your belief that help and hope can be found. Express concern directly by stating specific observations (e.g., "I have noticed that you are tearful in classes and have stopped turning in homework" is better than "You aren’t yourself anymore"). It can be helpful to talk about the courage required to examine oneself and confront problems when needed. Cadets may have a range of reactions when approached about a problem, including relief, embarrassment, denial, and anger. Ask how you can be helpful. Be sure to set clear limits and take care of yourself. Your job is to provide resources and support, not to force someone to do something (unless it is an emergency). Remember that it is the responsibility of the cadet to get and utilize help.  


When Should I Suggest That A Cadet Go To Cadet Counseling? 

 No one has the expertise to handle every problem. Professional counselors are available to assist cadets in distress and to help determine if a counseling referral is appropriate. Referrals are often helpful in the following situations:

No one has the expertise to handle every problem. Professional counselors are available to assist cadets in distress and to help determine if a counseling referral is appropriate. Referrals are often helpful in the following situations:

• You feel consumed, overwhelmed, or stressed out by the cadet’s problem.
• You know that you do not have the expertise to handle the problem.
• Personal differences interfere with your ability to be helpful.
• The boundaries of your role with the cadet make it unwise to know personal information.
• The cadet acknowledges that there is a problem, but is reluctant to discuss it with you.
• The problem does not seem to get any better over time.

How Do I Make a Referral to Cadet Counseling:

When meeting alone with a cadet, suggest that he/she make an appointment at Cadet Counseling. Be sure to let the cadet know that the sessions are confidential and free. You can also offer to call Cadet Counseling from your office and hand the phone to the cadet to make an appointment. If you think the situation is an emergency, please tell the person answering the phone. Unless the cadet is at risk of harming themselves or others, the decision to seek counseling is a personal choice. Reluctant cadets may find it helpful to come to a one-time consultation session, rather than make a long-term commitment to counseling. Cadet referrals can be made with the Cadet Counseling in person (M-F, 0800-1630 2nd Floor Post Hospital located behind Crozet Hall), by phone at ext. 7667 when on-Post and (540) 464 – 7667 when off-Post. If a non-emergent referral is made to the Cadet Counseling and the cadet is not present during the time the referral is being made, an e-mail outreach extending an invitation to meet will be made by an Institute Counselor. Again, unless the cadet is at risk of harming themselves or others, the decision to seek counseling is a personal choice. After 1630 on weekdays or on weekends, all emergency referrals are made through the Infirmary (1st Floor, ext. 7218).   

What Do I Do In An Emergency? 

An emergency is a situation when a cadet presents a serious likelihood of harming themselves or others. If you are in such a situation, remember to stay calm, get the assistance of others, and try not to leave the cadet alone. VMI Health Center staff is available to assist you in emergency situations (ext. 7218 or ext. 7667). If you call first, please be sure and convey to the person answering the phone that you are calling with an emergency. If you need to escort a cadet to the Post Hospital you may call VMI Police (463-9177 or 9-1-1), or contact the Officer In Charge or Commandant’s Office (ext. 7313) to ensure safety.  

After hours, cadets with emergencies should be referred directly to the Infirmary (ext. 7218), unless the cadet is in need of emergency medical attention, has threatened violence or acted in a violent fashion, or appears to have lost touch with reality (e.g, Is seeing or hearing things that others cannot). In any of those instances VMI Police should be contacted immediately through 9-1-1. Over furloughs cadets with emergencies should seek assistance by presenting at the local emergency room at Stonewall Jackson Hospital (458-3300).


For More Information about Identifying and Responding to Distressed Cadets, Click here.