Helping a Friend

Helping a Friend

Sometimes a friend will be going through a tough time, and you may want to help. It is generally helpful to approach this student in a concerned, caring, and non-judgmental way. Tell the person specifically why you are concerned (e.g., "I am concerned about you because you are worried so much and have not been able to sleep for three days"). You can recommend that the person make an appointment to speak with a counselor in the Counseling Center.

Frequently, this person will be relieved that someone has noticed his/her distress. If this person is willing, you can help them call the counseling center, and even accompany them to the first appointment if they want you to be there.

Other times the person might state that they are not interested in talking to someone at this time. Sometimes this is because they may feel uncomfortable talking with a counselor, or may be scared to talk about a problem because it feels overwhelming. They may minimize the problem or think the Counseling Center cannot be of assistance. If it is not an emergency situation, try to be open to the fact that the person may need some time to choose to talk to someone.

What next?

What if your friend does not want to go to the Counseling Center? As mentioned, if it is not an emergency or crisis situation, be patient, supportive and friendly. You may also consult with one of the counselors about how to help this person. Your request for assistance will be kept confidential in accordance with the Counseling Center's policies on confidentiality.

ULifeline is available for free information, screening, and ideas on ways to help friends. In addition, there are many other resources on-line that can provide additional information about helping others. Check out the self-help resources page for links to education and assessment tools for a variety of concerns college students often face. You can share this information with your friend and search the sites together.
If it is a Crisis, please click here to be directed to the Crisis/Emergency page.