Students Helping Students: Tips From The Counseling Center
Anxiety, depression, sadness and stress are challenges that some students face. Knowing what to look for and how to help enables you to get assistance for a friend in emotional distress.
How can I tell if my friend is in emotional distress? He or she might:
- Skip classes, not show up for work and other obligations.
- Isolate from friends and withdrawal from everyday activities.
- Punch walls, start fights, showing impulsive behaviors.
- Neglect grooming, appear unkempt.
- Drink alcohol to excess or begin to abuse other drugs.
- Engage in self-injurious behavior such as cutting.
- Use of Negative Emoticons.
- Insomnia posts- posting on social media late at night.
What do I do?
- Encourage your friend to talk by...using phrases such as, "Do you want to talk about it."
or "What can I do to help?"
- Listen carefully and without judgment.
- Be specific about what you noticed in their behavior.
- Avoid using the "Like" button or replying with an emoticon- send them a message voicing your concern.
- Enlist the help of an RA or GA to support your friend.
- Encourage your friend to call the Counseling Center for an appointment.
- Walk your friend over to the Counseling Center, if needed.
How can I tell if my friend is in more serious distress? He or she might:
- See, hear, or believe in things that are not present or possible (hallucinations).
- Speak incoherently or use Anonsense@ talk.
- Talk of suicide or homicide (either directly or indirectly).
What do I do?
- Offer support and reassurance.
- Do not dismiss talk about suicide or homicide.
- Encourage the student to call or allow you to call the Counseling Center.
- Contact University Police at 911 if you feel threatened.
- Make an anonymous report to the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) at (717) 871-7070.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).