The Student Center for Health and Well-Being promotes a philosophy of mutual responsibility and believes that, as a college community, we have a responsibility to one another. When a friend or peer is engaging in behaviors that cause us concern or is self-destructive, we have a responsibility to address those behaviors and encourage the person to seek appropriate help and support.
The question becomes how? Here are some ideas and options you might have in such a situation.
If you want to talk to the person for whom you have a concern directly, here are some tips:
Be clear about what behaviors the person is exhibiting that cause you concern. Be as specific as possible. Example: I have noticed you have been sleeping a lot more lately, you have missed a lot of classes, and you are not spending as much time with any of your friends.
Focus your comments in concern for the person.
Use "I messages" when talking about your concerns. Example: I feel worried and scared when you talk like that. As opposed to: how can you even talk that way.
Let the person know how their behavior impacts you. Example: I wish you would talk to someone about these issues. I somehow feel responsible for making sure you're OK.
Give the person some ideas where they might go for help. Example: Maybe you could talk to someone in the Counseling Center, Student Health Services, or your residential or peer advisor.
If you want to get some ideas about how to help someone without talking to him or her directly you can:
Call the CSS concern HOTLINE at 733-2233. The hotline is an anonymous way to let a counselor know of your concern for a student. Leave a message about your concern and the person for whom you are concerned. A counselor will call the person and talk to them. Come to the counseling center in Tower Hall 2150 or Health Services in Somers Lower Level, Room 58 and tell a counselor or nurse about your concerns. The staff will talk to you about some of the options you might have.
Important things to remember:
You do not have to be alone in your concern. Reach out and ask for support and help as to what you should do. Talk with friends, family, staff, or faculty about the options you might have. Let the person with the problem take ownership of the problem. That person needs to take responsibility for the problem, and take some action. While you can be supportive, the person has control of what he or she will do. You cannot control what they do; only what you do. Most importantly, take care of yourself. You want to empathize and understand the problem another person is having without taking on their problem as your own. If you begin to lose sleep, worry so much you cannot concentrate, or your own grades begin to suffer, get help for yourself. Another person's problem may be overwhelming you. You may need help in taking a step back.