Community Advisors/Resident Life Staff

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Guidelines - What to Do

  • Be Available - Let residents know NOW that you are a person they can come to.
  • Be Aware - Are there behavior changes? Talk with roommate to confirm changes. Talk with resident to understand what is happening.
  • Take Problems Seriously - Even if those problems seem unimportant to you (e.g., failing grades, relationship breakup, etc.).
  • Listen - Be willing to spend some time with residents. Ask directly if they have thought of harming themselves.
  • Explain Options - Let students know that help is available and that you will provide support for them as they seek that help (e.g.,Dean of Students, Counseling Services, etc.).
  • Stay Close and Available - Let student know you care and will be around to help.

What NOT to Do

  • Do not try to shock or challenge. ("Go ahead and do it;" "Yeah, right")
  • Do not analyze the person's motives. ("You just feel bad because...")
  • Do not argue or try to reason. (You can"t kill yourself because...")
  • Do not use guilt. ("Do you know how bad your folks would feel?")
  • Do not console WITHOUT listening. ("I know how you feel. I flunked chemistry too, but everything worked out.")
  • Do not abandon the student once they are receiving professional help.

Note: Any student in emotional distress should be taken seriously. During the day, contact counseling services (Ext. 8536). On evenings or weekends, contact the staff member on call.

How to Refer Someone to Counseling

  • Approach student in calm, warm and understanding manner.
  • Express your concerns clearly, giving examples of observable changes which you have noticed in their behavior, work, academics, relationships, or life situations. State these as observations, not judgments.
  • Reassure the student that help is available and explain what services are offered at Counseling Services, how to access them and inform the student that counseling is confidential.
  • If the student is not in crisis, you can indicate to them that it is ok to take time to think about going to counseling and that rejecting counseling does not mean that they are rejecting you or your assistance.
  • If the student is in crisis, explain that you are concerned for their welfare and want to consult with someone who is better able to assist the student. Then, contact Counseling Services (Ext. 8536, during the day) or the senior staff member on call for assistance.