It is an important and sometimes difficult task. Suggested guides to approach someone whom you feel needs help:
Every year many students, faculty and staff call or come to the University Counseling Service expressing concern for a student, whether that person is a friend, relative or roommate.
We recommend that you approach the student you are concerned about in a gentle, caring and non-judgmental manner and specifically state why you are concerned.
Then suggest that he/she seek out a professional assessment at the Counseling Service.
Most often, the student will feel relieved that there is help available and will agree to make an appointment.
If you want to offer extra support, you can have the student call UCS from your office or room, and/or you may offer to accompany the student to the UCS to her/his first appointment.
If the person you are concerned about refuses to get help immediately (and it is not an emergency situation), try to be friendly and remain open to the possibility that he/she may want your help in the future.
Some students may feel ambivalent about seeking help from any source, including the University Counseling Service.
A direct response to such ambivalence can sometimes be helpful: "If your problem can not be resolved at the University Counseling Service, they can direct you to the appropriate place."
If you decide to be more explicit about your concern, feel free to contact the University Counseling Service (202 806-6870) to discuss different options of how to handle the crisis. A clinician will help you to assess the situation and assist your friend:
Proposing possible interventions
Find the best way to make a referral, if necessary
Explore resources on and off campus
Clarification of what is going on and how you can be more effective
Feel free to consult with us about any concern you may have (202) 806-6870