Concern for a student
How do I know if my friend needs help?
If you notice changes in a student but are unsure of how to support them or deal with it, call us at 740-587-6200. Please note we do not allow anyone to make an appointment on behalf of a student. If a student does come to us for help, it is completely confidential.
If your friend refuses to get help, you may need to call 911 or your local emergency response team on their behalf. Remember: this is someone you care about, who may not be thinking clearly at this time. They may resist your efforts now, but later, when the crisis has passed, they will be alive to thank you.
You can report a concern about a student. To express concern for a student who has:
- Academic concerns, including about absences and grades
- Physical or mental health concerns
- Social or general concerns, including loss of a loved one
Complete the CARE Referral form. This report is shared with the Dean of Students, who may connect the student of concern with appropriate resources. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Dean of Students.
- You’re doing more personal mentoring with a student than you find comfortable or you feel they’d benefit from talking to someone with professional training.
- The student seems excessively sad, anxious, or irritable.
- There’s a marked change from the student’s normal baseline of behavior. A typically strong and engaged student might start procrastinating, turning in poorly prepared work, missing class or meetings, or avoiding class or group participation.
- You notice marked changes in a student’s appearance, such as deterioration in grooming, hygiene, or weight loss.
- It seems likely that the use of alcohol or other substances may be interfering with a student’s performance or relationships.
- There’s a marked and persistent change in energy level. The student might seem listless, fall asleep frequently in class or meetings, or show an acceleration in speech and activity.
- The student seems unusually dependent, helpless, or hopeless. The student’s thoughts, speech, or actions seem bizarre or unusual.
- Talk with the student in private.
- Be aware of your own level of stress and strive to be calm, especially if the student is agitated or upset. A few deep breaths can help you calm yourself.
- Inform them if you are a mandated reporter.
- Inform the student of your concern in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner. Give specific examples of the behavior patterns you’ve observed that lead you to feel concerned.
- Listen carefully and ask open-ended questions that invite the student to talk freely instead of yes or no responses.
- Restate and summarize. For example “I hear you saying ….” helps the student to feel you are truly hearing them.
- If you have questions, ask them directly and non-judgmentally.
- Allow for silences.
- Avoid critical or judgmental tones.
- Resist the temptation to problem-solve for the student. Focus on creating a caring and empathetic presence. Just showing true empathy can be very helpful for a person in distress.
- Mention The Wellness Center at Whisler Hall offers free and confidential counseling to students, and there is a walk-in hour Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. (no appointment needed).
- Do not pressure the student into counseling. Try to correct misconceptions or look for alternatives.
- Ask the student if they know how to contact The Wellness Center at Whisler Hall. Remember you won’t be able to make an appointment for the student.
Please call 740-587-6200 and press #1 to schedule an appointment with a member of our medical or behavioral staff
*Given demand for student appointments, we ask that you cancel any appointment you are unable to attend.
Counseling Same-Day Virtual Appointments:
Monday through Friday
11:30 am - 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Call 740-587-6200 to get connected with a same-day appointment.
24/7 Crisis Counseling:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: