How Do I Help?
When you notice a student in distress, your response can make the difference.
Please consider either:
- speaking directly with the student, or
- making a "Student of Concern" referral
Choosing a pathway
If you have a relationship with a student (even the smallest degree of rapport) and notice signs of distress, your best option may be to talk with him or her directly. Begin the conversation by expressing your concern. (See "Quick Tips on How To Help a Distressed Student")
If you do not really know the student (e.g., student is in your large lecture class, is a resident in your building, but not on your floor; is someone you know but don’t socialize with regularly), but notice signs of distress or a pattern of concerning behavior, it may be more comfortable or effective to contact someone in their support circle (friend, roommate, etc) who might be "closer" to the student.
Your decision may also be influenced by:
- your level of experience
- the nature or severity of the problem
- your ability to give time to the situation
- a variety of other personal factors
In any given situation, there are likely to be several "right ways" to reach out in a caring manner.
The only real risk is in doing nothing.
[* adapted with permission from Cornell University’s Gannet Health Services on 2/24/10]