Helping Someone Else

It is often overwhelming and confusing when you care about someone who seems to be having a difficult time emotionally (e.g., suffering from or "shown by" an eating disorder, substance abuse problem, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-inflicted injury).  You may wonder: How do I know if they really have a problem?  What should I do?  How can I get them help?

The Counseling Center provides consultation to students, faculty, staff, or community members who are concerned about a student.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Find a good place to talk.
  • Be a good listener.  Very often people just need someone who will listen to their concern without judging them or giving advice.
  • Express your care and concern.
  • Be direct.  If you think the person has a problem, let them know what you see.
  • Set appropriate limits.  Let the person know that you care about them but you cannot be  their counselor.
  • Don’t promise something that you can’t back up.  Avoid telling the person that you won’t tell anyone else (this can put you in a bind).
  • Tell the person about the Counseling Center.  Let them know that the services are free, confidential, and for normal people dealing with difficult situations.
  • If the person is resistant to his/her coming to the Counseling Center , explore what their fears might be.  You can even offer to accompany the person to their first appointment.
  • Call the Counseling Center (439-4841), let the receptionist know that you are seeking  consultation and ask to speak to one of the counselors.  You may also email us with your questions.
  • You can also come by the Counseling Center .  We have pamphlets that might help you understand what is going on for the person and how to help.