How to Help a Friend
One of the greatest resources for dealing with pain is
feeling and believing that other people
care. Talk to someone. Listen.
Are you concerned about
Friends are usually the first to notice when
someone is sad, worried, withdrawn, or irritable. Maybe your friend stopped
going to class, or is engaging in unhealthy behaviors. Help your friend heal by
expressing your concern and encouraging them to seek help.
- State your concern. Objectively describe what you observe in your friend,
and express your concern.
- Inquire. Ask
your friend what is wrong or how you can help.
- Listen. Listen
without judgement. Try not to agree or disagree with their behavior,
simply listen to them.
- Empathize. Communicate
- Offer them hope. Encourage them to keep talking, and to reach out to
others who care about them.
- Suggest that they visit Counseling Services. Remind them that the first visit is free and
Don't ignore comments
about suicide or self harm. You can reach out to site administrators to report
comments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Take the threat
seriously, and treat an online comment the same way as you would in
What do you do if a
friend is reluctant?
Simply tell your friend
that you care about them. Acknowledge and discuss your friend's concerns about
seeking help. Your friend may be defensive or ambivalent. Understand that your
friend's defensiveness may be based on their feelings and is not directed at
you. Look for signs that your friend is reaching out for help. It can be a
challenge to help a friend with a mental health or substance problem. Don't be
discouraged. Remember that it is up to your friend to make a change, and you
can't do it for him or her.
How else can you
Don't be silent. If you
feel overwhelmed, encourage your friend to speak to someone in a professional
role on campus. Know that you don't have to deal with a situation on your own.
If you are concerned about someone you can call counseling services and consult
with a professional. Faculty and Staff Resources
As members of the NAU campus community, we are all committed to not only the academic success of our students, but also their well-being. It is highly encouraged that you complete a free 45 minute interactive online simulation that will help you identify students experiencing high levels of distress, approach and discuss your concern with a student in distress, and make an effective referral to support services.
To take the course, follow the instructions below:
Other resources for Faculty and Staff:
- Request a 60-minute FREE StressLess presentation from Health Promotion
- Request an outreach presentation from Counseling Services
- Take action and join the Suicide Prevention Task Force. Contact Kasondra McCracken to find out more.