How to help someone in a crisis

  • Speak privately to the student or friend, and out of earshot from other people.
  • Remain calm and nonjudgmental with your own thoughts.
  • Be sensitive to the individual but direct in your conversation. It is okay to ask the person if s/he has had thoughts of self-harm ( if you suspect this ). Such a question doesn’t necessarily trigger new ideas of self-harm, but may be a relief for the person to talk about the stress.
  • Acknowledge the importance of what the student is sharing with you. Most likely, there is a lot of pain that the student has kept inside.
  • Refer the student for help. Suggest that you will initiate the phone call to us, or walk with him/her to the Counseling Center (across from Hyde Hall). Make a plan to do either of these that day.
  • Provide encouragement and check up with the person frequently. Caring friends are an important life-line during stressful times. Your concern for the individual is a valuable part of the process toward well-being.
  • Take care of yourself, as well. Helping a friend in crisis is stressful. Tend to your well-being and talk to a trusted individual about your anxieties in this process.